| Abu Layla|
Yussuf Abu Sa’dun
Kobanî (1984) |
Syrian opposition (2012–13)
Syrian civil war
Battle of Aleppo
Syrian Kurdish-Islamist conflict (2013-present)
Siege of Kobanî (WIA)
Manbij offensive (2016) (DOW)
5 June 2016, Sulaymaniyah, Iraq
Syrian civil war, Battle of Aleppo
Liwa Ahrar Souriya (2012–2013), Jabhat al-Akrad (2013–2014), Northern Sun Battalion (2014–2016)
Saadoun al-Faisal (1984 – 5 June 2016), widely known as Abu Leyla or Abu Layla, was a commander of the Free Syrian Army and later the Syrian Democratic Forces. He is regarded by some Kurds as a hero in the battle against Islamic State.
Abu Layla was born near Kobanî to Kurdish and Arab parents; he died in a hospital in Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan Region, Iraq. His death was caused by sniper bullet to the head received in Abu Qelqel village during an offensive against the Islamic State in Manbij on 5 June 2016. He was at that time a prominent commander within the Syrian Democratic Forces.
Abu Layla Wikipedia
Abu Layla grew up in Manbij and was, before the Syrian civil war, a car mechanic. He was married and had four daughters. At the beginning of the civil war in 2011, he joined the rebels and become a commander in Liwa Ahrar Souriya. He took part in the fight against the Syrian Arab Army of the Bashar al-Assad government in Aleppo (al-'Ashrafiya, Sheikh Maqsood, Ancient City of Aleppo) and in the Latakia province. He returned to the area near Manbij and Jarabulus to fight ISIL and co-founded the Martyr Hamza Battalion which became part of Jabhat al-Akrad.
He co-founded the Northern Sun Battalion (Arabic: كتائب شمس الشمال, translit. kata'eb shams ash-shamal) in April 2014 and found himself besieged with his battalion in the Syrian town of Kobani from September 2014 to January 2015. During the Siege of Kobani he gained widespread attention on the internet after allegedly saving an Islamic State fighter from the rubble. During the siege he was wounded seven times but led his battalion alongside the YPG and Peshmerga, breaking the siege after 112 days of fighting with help from more than 600 airstrikes by the American coalition.
Although he decided to quit as a commander in early 2015, he changed his mind and joined the 2015 offensive of Tell Abyad and Al-Hasakah. He was one of the founders of the Syrian Democratic Forces. With his battalion, he took part in the successful offensive in Ayn Issa, Al-Shaddadah, Sarrin and Tishrin Dam in December 2015. He co-founded the Manbij Military Council and in 2016 he was active with his battalion in the area around Tishreen Dam and Manbij.
Abu Layla died on the 5 June 2016, after being shot in the head by an Islamic State sniper on Friday June third, in the countryside south of Manbij, Syria. He had previously been evacuated by a US military helicopter to a hospital in Sulaymaniyah, Iraqi Kurdistan, but doctors were unable to remove a bullet to the head and prevent internal bleeding to the brain. He was buried in Kobani the next day. Other SDF commanders, including Abdul Sattar al-Jader and Muhammad Ahmed of the Euphrates Jarabulus Brigades and Abdul Karim Obeid of the Tahrir Brigade attended the funeral.
The Syrian Democratic Forces named the operation against Islamic State in Manbij "Martyr Abu Leyla operation" in his memory.
His brother Yussuf Abu Sa’dun was captured on 4 July by the Islamic State in the same operation near Manbij. The Kurdish Rudaw Media Network names him as Yousif Babe Aziz, a 42-year-old father of five, saying he disappeared eight days ago. According to Rudaw, one of Aziz’s relatives told news agencies that they did not know Aziz had been captured by the Islamic State until they saw the footage released last night. “Yousif put Abu Layla’s rifle on his shoulder and decided to go to Manbij to fight ISIS. But he disappeared once he left Kobani towards Manbij. We looked for him a lot, but could not do anything,” said Jalal Ahmed, a cousin of Aziz.