Syrian rebel leader injured in explosion

by | Mar 25, 2013 | News

Syria has been embroiled in conflict since protests against President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011.

Syria has been embroiled in conflict since protests against President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011. COURTESY WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

By Sharon Tindyebwa

One of the founders of the Free Syrian Army, Riad al-Asaad, has been wounded in a car explosion in the largely rebel controlled town of Mayadeen.

Asaad, who was one of the first military leaders to call for an armed insurrection again President Bashar al-Assad, had his foot amputated following the explosion Sunday, according to The Associated Press.

A representative for the Free Syrian Army told the BBC that Assad had been airlifted to Turkey and was now in stable condition.

AP reports that Asaad had mostly been sidelined in the continued fighting between various rebel groups and the regime.

The unrest started as protests in March 2011 against the government of Bashar al-Assad is similar to movements in Turkey and Egypt and has escalated into what is now referred to as a civil war.

According to the UN, more than 70,000 people have been killed since the protests began.

Noomane Raboudi, an assistant professor of political studies at University of Ottawa, told Humber News it is a mistake to think of the Syrian conflict as a civil war.

“The actors who are fighting out this conflict are not fighting for themselves. Whatever their nature is – state actor or non-state actor – this is a geopolitical conflict,” Raboudi said.

Raboudi said the whole Middle East region is involved as are other global powers.

“It is also an international conflict because the Chinese and the Russians are using this conflict to put an end to the American unilateralism,” Raboudi said.

On Sunday, Moaz al-Khatib, the leader of the Syrian National Coalition, resigned as head of the group that is widely recognized as a legitimate representative of the opposition.

Al-Khatib pointed to a lack of support from the international community that has left Syrians unable to “defend themselves,” according to Al Jazeera.

Raboudi said al-Khatib’s resignation was “proof of the inability of the opposition to be an influential actor in this conflict.”

The opposition does not “have any tools to finish the conflict and to make any pressure on the government,” he said.

The Arab League has extended an invitation to the Syrian National Council to attend a summit in Doha, Qatar. The League expelled Syria from the group in November 2011.

Despite his resignation, al-Khatib has said he will attend the summit.

According to the BBC, he posted a statement on his Facebook page saying he had consulted “trustworthy figures” and “decided to make a speech in the name of the Syrian people.”