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Death of a rebel

Syrian man put his dreams on hold to join fight against president Assad

Published: Thursday, Feb. 28 2013 8:05 p.m. MST

In this image taken from video obtained from the Beloved of Allah Brigade, Syrian rebel Abdullah Qadi, second right, addresses other fighters in the village of Orim. (Associated Press) In this image taken from video obtained from the Beloved of Allah Brigade, Syrian rebel Abdullah Qadi, second right, addresses other fighters in the village of Orim. (Associated Press)

BEIRUT — Abdullah Qadi stood apart from his fellow rebel fighters — an educated young man from a poor farming town who managed to make it through veterinary school.

He was fresh out of school in March 2011, when Syria's uprising began and erased his career plans of treating animals and someday becoming a professor.

As the violence deepened into a civil war, Qadi worked as a medic but later took up arms when his brother was killed, becoming a field commander.

Qadi was leading fighters into battle against the government forces when I met him on two occasions last year, a 25-year-old who was swept up in events he didn't quite understand and didn't expect to survive.

"I try to ask myself where I'll be after the revolution, and I can't imagine myself anywhere but in the grave," Qadi told me the last time I saw him in person.

In this Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012 image taken from video obtained from the Beloved of Allah Brigade , which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrian rebel Abdullah Qadi, foreground, addresses other fighters in the village of Orim, Syria. Qadi, a fresh graduate of veterinary school when Syria's conflict began, was killed this week while fighting the forces of President Bashar Assad.(AP Photo/Beloved of Allah Brigade via AP video) (Associated Press) In this Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012 image taken from video obtained from the Beloved of Allah Brigade , which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrian rebel Abdullah Qadi, foreground, addresses other fighters in the village of Orim, Syria. Qadi, a fresh graduate of veterinary school when Syria's conflict began, was killed this week while fighting the forces of President Bashar Assad.(AP Photo/Beloved of Allah Brigade via AP video) (Associated Press)

I saw Qadi again earlier this week: As I sat at my computer in Beirut, a YouTube video flashed across the screen showing his body after he had been killed in northern Syria during government shelling and airstrikes. The video, posted online by the rebels, declared him a "martyr" in the fight against President Bashar Assad.

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