|al-Nusra Front, an affiliate to al-Qaeda|
Turkish Backed Islamists Gain Ground
- Again, The U.S. and our Islamist allies Turkey and Saudi Arabia want to overthrow the government of Syria that is fighting against al-Qaeda. So who are the real terrorists?
(Business Insider) - The Army of Conquest rebel coalition in northwest Syria has continued to advance against regime troops desperately defending a collapsing salient of territory in the Idlib province.
Following a nearly month-long siege, the insurgents stormed into the Jisr al-Shughur National Hospital, where hundreds of government forces—among them high-ranking officers and provincial officials—barricaded themselves following the fall of the nearby town on April 25.
“The Al-Nusra Front and [other] Islamist factions have taken complete control of the National Hospital on the southwest outskirts of the town of Jisr al-Shughur,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Friday morning.
“Opposition control of the hospital came after dozens of regime servicemen managed to escape, fleeing toward the Syrian army forces and pro-regime militias that have been trying to break the siege on the building,” the monitoring NGO said.
Turkey helped Islamists take over Idlib
A Syrian military source accused Turkey of helping Islamist rebels to stage an assault on Idlib, a provincial capital which fighters seized. (Haaretz.com)
The Observatory added that amid the fierce clashes near the facility, regime warplanes “carried out intensive air raids on rebel positions inside and outside the hospital complex, killing and injuring several regime fighters, while others were taken prisoner.
“So far the fate of the regime servicemen who managed to escape remains unknown.”
Servicemen escape hospital
The circumstances of the fall of the hospital remain foggy, as independent reports have yet to elaborate on whether regime troops managed to break the siege to facilitate the escape, or if it was a last ditch-run.
The Observatory earlier Friday said that while pro-regime troops tried to break the siege, fierce fighting raged hundreds of meters outside the building, jets conducted at least 22 raids and helicopters dropped barrel bombs on the area of the clashes.
In a rare public appearance on May 6, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad vowed that his government would break the siege, saying that “the army will arrive soon to these heroes trapped in the Jisr al-Shughur hospital.
Syria’s state SANA news agency trumpeted Friday that “the force defending Jisr al-Shughur National Hospital carried out a tactical maneuver this morning […] and has managed to successfully break the siege.”