(Reuters) – Colonel Riad al-Asaad, founder of the insurgent Free Syrian Army (FSA), had his leg severed by an explosion in rebel-controlled Syria in an apparent assassination attempt, opposition sources said on Monday.
His wounds were not life-threatening and he was now in hospital in Turkey, a Turkish official said.
Asaad, who set up the FSA in 2011 to fight for the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad, was one of the first senior officers to defect from the Syrian military.
Syrian opposition sources said Asaad had been hit by a car bomb in the city of al-Mayadin, south of Deir al-Zor in eastern Syria. Al-Mayadin is controlled by several rebel groups, not all of them under the FSA umbrella group.
“The attempt to assassinate Colonel Riad al-Asaad in Deir al-Zor is part of an attempt to assassinate the free leaders of Syria,” said Moaz al-Khatib, who resigned on Sunday as the head of the opposition Syrian National Coalition.
Asaad’s deputy, Malik al-Kurdi, told the pan-Arab Al Jazeera news channel that he believed the Syrian government was responsible for what he said was an assassination attempt.
A bomb was placed under the car, directly below Asaad’s seat, and that he also sustained wounds to his face, Kurdi said.
Asaad was excluded from a Western-backed command of the FSA formed last year. Since his defection he has mostly lived with his family in a camp in Turkey along the Syrian border.
Various Syrian rebel factions fight under the umbrella of the FSA, which has struggled to find regular weapons supplies and build a disciplined command and control structure.
Some prominent Islamist militant groups, including the powerful al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, are not part of the FSA.
(Additional reporting by Oliver Holmes in Beirut and Khaled Oweis in Amman; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
One thought on “Syrian rebel army founder’s leg blown off by car bomb”
“A bomb was placed under the car, directly below Asaad’s seat, and that he also sustained wounds to his face, Kurdi said.”
Shoulda used a bigger bomb.