Syrian soccer goalie who became rebel icon dies in battle

A Syrian rebel spokesman says a famous soccer goalkeeper who became an icon of the rebellion against President Bashar Assad has died of wounds suffered in a battle with government forces.

Abdelbaset Sarout, 27, who rose to fame as a player for his home city of Homs, joined peaceful protests against Assad in 2011 and was known as the “singer of the revolution.” He later took up arms as the country slid into civil war. Four of his brothers and his father were killed in the war.

Cpt. Mustafa Maarati, spokesman for the Jaysh al-Izza rebel group, says Saturday Sarout died from wounds sustained two days earlier while fighting in the northern Hama province. Fighting has escalated in northwestern Syria, the last major rebel stronghold, since April.

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