The Associated Press reports: The leader of one of Syria’s most prominent rebel units died early Monday of wounds sustained during a strike by government forces last week, his group said, dealing another blow to fighters reeling from a series of recent battlefield losses.
The death of Abdul-Qadir Saleh, founder of the Tawhid Brigade, followed advances by President Bashar Assad’s troops against rebels on two key fronts: the capture of a string of opposition-held suburbs south of Damascus and the taking of two towns and a military base outside the northern city of Aleppo.
An ongoing offensive meanwhile is driving hundreds of refugees into neighboring Lebanon, as government forces seek to dislodge rebels from a mountainous area that stretches north of the Syrian capital. A total of 6,000 have crossed to a Lebanese border town over the last three days, the U.N. says.
The Tawhid Brigade is one of Syria’s best known and powerful rebel groups, with an estimated 10,000 fighters, and is particularly strong in Aleppo province. Under Saleh’s command, the group last year spearheaded a rebel push that seized large sections of the provincial capital Aleppo. [Continue reading…]