The story of Abdelbaset al-Sarout stands out from other military or civilian opponents who died or were killed inside Syria or abroad – as his life was witness to Syria's peaceful protests, vicious battles, demonstrations, siege, displacement, and poverty all the way from Homs «capital of the revolution» to Idlib «the last stronghold of the opposition».
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Sarout was wounded in clashes with regime forces in the northern Hama countryside in the night of Thursday to Friday while fighting in the ranks of Jaish Al-Izza.
"He died of his wounds on Saturday," the head of the Britain-based Observatory, Rami Abdurrahman, said.
A nationally-recognized goalkeeper, he sprang to prominence in his home city of Homs in 2011 as one of many who staged street protests – he used to sing in praise of the revolution and was known as the “singer of the revolution”.
He fought in Homs, but left in 2014 along with other rebels under a surrender deal with the regime to end a two-year siege of its historical center. Four of Sarout’s brothers and his father have also been killed in the fighting and shelling there.
Sarout moved among Islamic and moderate factions, becoming a symbol of the revolution, as described by Mahmoud al-Hamoud, a leader of the Jaysh al-Izza rebel group, in which Sarout was a commander.
“He was both a popular figure, guiding the rebellion and a military commander,” said Maj. Jamil al-Saleh from Jaish al-Izza. “His martyrdom will give us a push to continue down the path he chose and to which he offered his soul and blood as sacrifice.”
He spearheaded the battles in the north of Aleppo and was among the first arrivals to Tal Meleh when factions launched a counter-attack in north-Hama on Thursday.
Sarout starred in the documentary "Return to Homs" by Syrian director Talal Derki.
Further, an album including all the songs by Sarout that went viral during the protests in 2012 was issued. His picture was also printed on postal cards designed by activists in 2012 to archive protests against the regime.
Upon announcing his death, some cheered up and described him as a terrorist while others mourned him and called him the “Guevara of Syria.”
Source: Asharq Al-Awsat.