A leading Syrian rebel commander and former officer in the Syrian army has been killed in clashes with regime forces Monday.
Yasser al-Aboud was reportedly killed leading an assault on Syrian army checkpoints in the town of Tafas, near the Jordanian border, according to reports.
Al-Aboud was one of the first Syrian army commanders to defect to the rebel Free Syrian Army, during the early days of the armed uprising against the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
Also known as Abu Ammar, he led the Falujat Huaran Brigade, described by some as more "moderate" than many of the Islamist brigades which concern western leaders.
Abu Hamza, a spokesperson for the Falujat Huaran brigade, said in a statement: "The commander Aboud was martyred as he was leading a group of rebels against regime forces."
One opposition activist told AFP news agency that Al-Aboud was "one of the most effective commanders on the ground".
Syrian state television branded him a "criminal, treacherous... deserter".
Tafas lies just northwest of the city of Dera'a, which was one of the first Syrian cities to see large protests erupt against the Assad regime in early 2011. Today, it is largely controlled by the Syrian army, but in recent months rebel forces have managed to chip away at the government's hold on the city and its environs, including parts of the old city.