Many amazing young men have been killed since the beginning of the Syrian Revolution, but not many have been as popular and well-loved as Abdul Qader Al-Saleh from the town of Marea north of Aleppo. At the time of his death nine years ago, he was only 33 years old and had left behind a wife and five young children.
Al-Saleh originally contributed to the organizing of the peaceful movement in his hometown
Like the majority of those who felt compelled by their conscience to join the Free Syrian Army, Al-Saleh was not a soldier. A tradesman specializing in grains, he had been working in the food industry when the revolution began. Nicknamed “Hajji Marea” due to his great popularity and the people’s love for him, Al-Saleh originally contributed to the organizing of the peaceful movement in his hometown.
Distressed by the oppression, marginalization, and exclusion of the majority of Syrians by the Assad regime, Al-Saleh did not hesitate to be involved with the revolution from its inception. He was one of the first to register as a coordinator for the peaceful demonstrations and quickly evolved from leader of a few men in his hometown to the leader of several battalions and eventually the leader of Liwa al-Tawhid, the largest military faction in Aleppo and the surrounding regions.
Known for his sincerity and integrity, Al-Saleh possessed a revolutionary charisma
Al-Saleh, or “Hajji Marea,” was one of the few Syrians universally loved by everyone who was blessed to know him. Known for his sincerity and integrity, Al-Saleh possessed a revolutionary charisma and warmly greeted others by kissing them or embracing them lovingly, aspiring to be a friend and a brother, not merely a leader. He is also known for his simplicity and modesty.
With legendary bravery, Al-Saleh fought in all the battles to liberate the Aleppo countryside and was at the head of the few revolutionaries who entered Aleppo in Ramadan 2012. He was also among the few who stood against the regime army’s 80th brigade prior to his martyrdom. Wherever he was present, his leadership motivated the fighters and raised their morale.
The martyrdom of Al-Saleh marked a dangerous turning point in the course of the Syrian revolution
Al-Saleh was wounded several times and more than one assassination attempt was made on his life. In addition, the regime had placed huge sums of money on his head. The martyrdom of Al-Saleh marked a dangerous turning point in the course of the Syrian revolution as it occurred at a time when extremist organizations were seeking to expand their influence and strengthen their power in the region.
Seriously injured after a regime plane bombed a meeting of the leaders of the Al-Tawhid Brigade in the Infantry School in Aleppo, Abdul Qader Al-Saleh died on November 18, 2013, in the Turkish city of Gaziantep where he had been taken after he was wounded. As he had requested, Al-Saleh was buried in the grave he had dug for himself in his home city of Marea in northern Syria but his memory still lives on in the hearts of free Syrians everywhere and continues to inspire them in their quest for freedom, justice, and dignity in Syria.