The first regime soldiers rescued following a three-year siege of Kweiris military airbase in Aleppo arrived in Latakia, Tartous and Suwayda Sunday, only to be informed that they would be returning to the front lines after a short leave.
“The situation at Kweiris is still not secure and those soldiers who left have been temporarily replaced by reserves,” Abu Hassan, Shaam News Network correspondent in Latakia, told Syria Direct Monday.
The estimated 200 returning soldiers will return to active duty, says Abu Hassan.
The Baath Party branches in Latakia, Tartous and Suwayda held receptions on Sunday that included the soldiers, their families along with officers and party members.
“The Syrian Arab Army’s perseverance at Kweiris strengthened Syria’s defenses and thanks to them we will achieve victory against the terrorists,” Latakia Governor Ibrahim Khader Salim told attendees at the street celebration, SANA news reported.
“The returning soldiers will continue along with their comrades-in-arms in the fight to defeat and eliminate the terrorists from our nation,” said Ghassan Asaad, secretary of the Tartous Baath Party office at the coastal city reception.
Regime forces, backed by Russian air support, successfully freed the encircled troops earlier this month at the Kweiris military airbase following a three-year siege first imposed by various rebel groups and later by the Islamic State. The rescue of the soldiers relieved fears of yet another massacre of regime forces, such as those at Tabqa and Abu a-Dhuhur military bases, the former captured by the Islamic State in August 2014 and the latter by the Victory Army this past September.
“The people are very happy and in high spirits,” said Shaam correspondent Abu Hassan. “However, the returning soldiers’ families are afraid their sons will return to the fighting soon and are requesting early discharges.”
In August 2015, Syria Direct reported on protests in Tartous calling for the army to “break the siege” at Kweiris.
Speaking about his two-year ordeal at Kweiris, Lieutenant Jafer Asber told SANA: “Despite the hardships [at Kweiris], I realized that everyone must sacrifice what is most dear to them for the good of our nation.”
Reporting by Orion Wilcox
Photo courtesy of Safwan Kadra.