Rebels assassinate high-ranking Syria general

Major General Ali Sabouh, an officer in the Republican Guard, was killed in the outskirts of Suweida.

Major General Ali Sabouh. (Facebook/Tartous Martyrs)

BEIRUT – Rebels have assassinated a regime general in the outskirts of the normally-secure Suweida province in southern Syria.


The Army of Free Tribes—a Jordanian-backed tribal coalition active in the Daraa province—claimed responsibility late Sunday for the killing of Ali Sabouh, a three-star general serving in the government’s elite Republican Guard.


In a statement posted on its official Facebook page, the group announced that it killed Sabouh in a “special operation” following a ten-day period in which it monitored his movements.


“We vow to this murderous regime [that we will conduct] earth-shattering operations in its own headquarters,” the rebel faction— a collection of fighters are from tribes in Suweida, Daraa, Quneitra and southern rural Damascus—warned.


Pro-regime outlets on Sunday mourned Sabouh’s death, with the Suweida News Network reporting that the Republican Guard officer was killed Saturday when “his vehicle was ambushed between the villages of Khersa and Ariqa while conducting an inspection tour of army positions.”


The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, in turn, reported a similar account of the incident, saying that “unknown gunmen targeted vehicles transporting regime forces with an IED along the road between the villages of Khirsa and Ariqa in the outskirts of Suweida.”


“[The blast] killed a general and a number of his bodyguards while injuring other regime force members,” the monitoring NGO tracking developments in the war-torn country added.


Previous Suweida assassination


Another assassination hit the outskirts of the Suweida province in June when Alaa Makhlouf, a staffer of Syrian first lady Asma al-Assad, was killed by a roadside bomb in the Druze-populated province.


An official death notice for Makhlouf circulated in his hometown of Qardaha said that he was killed “at the hands of treachery and treason in the city of Suweida,” but did not go into the circumstances of the incident.


The little-know Free Alawite Brigades was the only opposition group toclaim responsibility for the assassination of the Makhlouf, who worked for Asma al-Assad handling outreach to the families of regime soldiers killed in combat.


Despite the claim, the mysterious rebel faction has no known operational presence, and it has yet to either upload a video purporting to show the attack—as has been the practice of many previous assassinations—or provide any further details on the operation.


NOW's English news desk editor Albin Szakola (@AlbinSzakola) wrote this report.

Major General Ali Sabouh. (Facebook/Tartous Martyrs)

We vow to this murderous regime [that we will conduct] earth-shattering operations in its own headquarters.