Earlier this month (the exact date is unclear) the leader of the Tawhid Brigade, Abdelqader Saleh, was killed in an airstrike in Aleppo. Saleh had been with the uprising from the beginning. He was involved with the initial demonstrations against the Assad government, then took up arms when matters became violent. Even in recent years, when the Tawhid Brigade, and Saleh with it, turned increasingly Islamist, he kept to the democratic rhetoric, even as his group denounced the Syrian National Coalition and joined the call for shariah in September. Vice interviewed Saleh last year:
Saleh, three other Tawhid commanders, and the political leader Abdelaziz Salame were hit in the strike in Aleppo. The three other unnamed commanders were apparently killed in the strike, while Salame was only wounded. He reported from the hospital that Saleh was undergoing treatment in a hospital in Turkey, but was in good health. A couple of days later, Saleh was reported dead.
It is unknown what effect Saleh’s death will have on the Tawhid Brigade. There has been some speculation that they might fragment into infighting with Saleh’s loss, but the Tawhid Brigade, being the largest rebel group in Syria at something close to 10,000 fighters, is organized well enough to drive through the loss. Time will tell, of course, and they are taking a beating in Aleppo, but it appears more likely at the moment that they will fall back rather than splinter.
Then, on Nov 17, rebels detonated a car bomb in the basement of a Syrian Army building on a base near Damascus, killing 31 people, including 4 government generals. So far, Maj General Ahmed Rustom and Maj General Ahmad Nader have been tentatively identified as two of the generals killed, though Nader comes from a source of doubtful reliability. What is obvious is that the rebels managed to penetrate government security to get the bomb inside. Direh al-Aasmeh (The Shield of Damascus Brigade) has claimed responsibility for the attack, and posted the video.
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