Hassan Aboud, a feared Islamic State commander and double amputee who led the jihadist group’s rank and file in a string of prominent battles inSyria, died Wednesday from wounds received in a battle near Aleppo roughly two weeks ago, a former aide and one of Mr. Aboud’s townspeople said.
Mr. Aboud, in his 30s, was admired by jihadists but despised by many Syrian rebels and activists, who accused him of betrayal and of organizing an assassination campaign against rebel leaders with whom he had collaborated before publicly defecting to the Islamic State in 2014.
Mr. Aboud, a former mason from Sarmin, a town on the flatlands of Idlib Province, was profiled in The New York Times last year.
He was wounded near Khanaser when a vehicle he was traveling in struck a roadside bomb, one of his former neighbors said. Khanaser, a town southeast of Aleppo, has been the scene of fighting between Syrian government forces and the Islamic State over control of the highway passing through the area.
His death was in many ways unsurprising — a reminder of the many perils facing the middle rank of the Islamic State, an organization fighting multiple foes on multiple fronts, under pressure from airstrikes from several nations and drawing funds from a range of criminal rackets that can attract treachery. The terrain it has held since 2014 has shrunk under this pressure.
There was no immediate indication he was killed by Russia or the United States.
His death ended a neatly predictable arc.
Mr. Aboud had been among the first Syrian rebels to organize bomb-making as the country slipped toward war in 2011, had lost both feet in a firing mishap with one of his workshops’ improvised rockets, and for nearly five years had a reputation of leading battles from the front. His behaviors predicted a short life.
Moreover, Mr. Aboud had once recorded himself singing calmly about killing his former rebel allies and townspeople and threatening to kill others — by name. With this chanting performance, known as a nasheed, he put himself squarely in the midst of lethal feuds in a vendetta-rich milieu.
His former townspeople said that he had first taken up arms in Anbar Province in Iraq early in the American occupation and that he had joined Al Qaeda there. He later returned to Syria and lived a seemingly quiet life as a mason and laborer until the Syrian uprising began in 2011.
After participating in a failed ambush against an army convoy in 2011, he formed a small fighting group, which swiftly grew into a large and hardened formation he called the Dawood Brigade.
At first the brigade avoided some of the characteristic behaviors of extreme jihadist formations, including the use of suicide bombers. By late 2013, however, one of its training videos showed instruction in such attacks.
Most of the brigade joined the Islamic State with Mr. Aboud in 2014, taking with them their weapons and a convoy of armored vehicles and tanks.