Beirut, May 11: At least 60 people have died in clashes between regime forces under Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Islamist rebel militias for control over a hospital in Jisr al-Shughur, in the northern Syrian province of Idlib, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said on Monday. According to the NGO, 32 of the fatalities were regime soldiers, while 28 were insurgents from Ahrar al-Sham Islamic Movement and Nusra Front, the Syrian branch of the Al Qaeda, Efe news agency reported. Fighting continued past dawn in the tiol Hospital of Jisr al-Shughur, which estimates that some 250 people, including soldiers, their families and other civilians, have been surrounded since insurgents took control of the town on April 25.
Regime aircraft have since carried out a total of 40 bombardments in the area, two of which targeted buildings in the hospital complex.
Dozens of terrorists were killed and wounded during the air raids, according to the official Syrian news agency Sa, which cited a military official. Military helicopters have also dropped thousands of leaflets in the area urging “terrorists” to surrender their weapons, and residents to stay away from areas where the insurgents are stationed or hiding.
SOHR indicated that military operations have caused chaos in the ranks of “terrorist organisations” over massive casualties, while al-Assad said in a speech on Wednesday that a rescue mission for the besieged soldiers in Jisr al-Shughur was being launched, and that he was confident of victory despite setbacks, which he said were “normal” in any battle. (IANS)