Syrian Rebel Leader Dies in Government Assault

Abdulkadar al-Saleh died from injuries sustained during a government attack on Thursday

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A Syrian rebel leader who organized one of the most successful factions against President Basha Assad died of wounds suffered Thursday during a government attack on a meeting of rebel leaders, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Monday.

Abdulkader al-Saleh, also known as Hajji Marea, was taken across the border to Turkey after being wounded. He died Thursday, but his death was kept a secret until he could be buried Sunday in his hometown, Marea, the New York Times reports.

Saleh was a well-respected leader among the Syrian rebels. A merchant and former army conscript, he organized local groups to form the Tawhid Islamic brigades, which were supported by Qatar. Shortly before his death, he and others made a video accusing Iranian fighters and the Lebanese Shiite organization Hezbollah of aiding the Syrian government in attacks against the rebels. The Syrian government denies the accusation.

More than 100,000 people have died in Syria’s two-and-a-half-year civil war.