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Syrian government troops kill prominent army defector who became rebel leader

This image made from video made from Syrian state television shows the aftermath of a truck bomb attack in Hama, Syria, Oct. 20, 2013. Syria's state media and activists say the suicide truck bomb attack on a government checkpoint on the edge of the central city left more than two dozen people dead. The state news agency SANA said Syrian rebels drove the truck laden with over a ton of explosives into the post at the eastern entrance of the city on Sunday. (AP Photo/Syrian State television via AP video)

This image made from video made from Syrian state television shows the aftermath of a truck bomb attack in Hama, Syria, Oct. 20, 2013. Syria's state media and activists say the suicide truck bomb attack on a government checkpoint on the edge of the central city left more than two dozen people dead. The state news agency SANA said Syrian rebels drove the truck laden with over a ton of explosives into the post at the eastern entrance of the city on Sunday. (AP Photo/Syrian State television via AP video)  (The Associated Press)

Syrian opposition activists and state television say government forces have killed a prominent army defector who became a rebel leader.

Rami Abdul-Rahman of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Al-Ikhbariya TV say Yasser al-Abboud was killed during fighting on Monday in the town of Tafas, in the southern province of Daraa.

Al-Abboud was among the first high-ranking Syrian army officials to publicly defect and join the rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad's regime. Most military defectors were low-level conscripts, who formed part of the Syrian Free Army.

Al-Abboud once commanded the military council of the FSA and led a rebel brigade in Daraa.

Syria's uprising, now in its third year, began as mostly peaceful protests against Assad but descended into a civil war that has killed 100,000.