A rebel military leader who was among the first to call openly for armed insurrection against President Bashar Assad was wounded by a bomb planted in his car in eastern Syria, anti-regime activists said on Monday.

Col. Riad al-Asaad, leader of a now-sidelined rebel umbrella group known as the Free Syrian Army, had his right foot amputated following the blast late on Sunday, according to an activist in the town of Mayadeen where the attack took place.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported the attack, saying some said al-Asaad had been killed while others said he lost a leg.

Calls to al-Asaad’s cell phone went unanswered, and one of his aides reached in Turkey said he had no details.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Al-Asaad, a former colonel in the Syrian air force who defected and fled to Turkey in 2011, became the head of the Free Syrian Army, a group of army defectors who were among the first to declare armed struggle the only way to topple the regime.

Keywords: Syria uprising

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