MORE COFFINS: A funeral procession for 70 regime soldiers killed by the Islamic State (IS) at the Shar gas fields in the eastern Homs countryside ran through the Alawite-majority city of Tartus Tuesday, reported pro-opposition Halab Today TV. Above, a photo of the procession circulated on Halab Today's Facebook page Tuesday.
Islamic State fighters took control of the Shar gas fields November 3, killing between 100 and 150 regime soldiers and capturing two tanks and stores of heavy weaponry before the regime recaptured the fields November 6.
The Shar fields are considered among the largest gas fields in Syria. They took on greater strategic importance to the regime—already struggling to meet energy needs in areas under its control—following IS's takeover of the majority of the oil fields in Syria's oil-rich eastern Deir e-Zor province in July.
Expressions of mourning, as well as discontent over the number of dead, were visible in comments posted under pictures of the procession that were uploaded to Facebook Tuesday by pro-regime Tartous Today.
“We're dying so this one and that one can live [referring to regime figures]...why not leave them to die?” wondered Saber Abearb Aiob.
“Really we're tired, God it's a shame, all those [dead soldiers] from Tartus. God may they rest in peace,” wrote Sandy Rabaa.
In mid-October, approximately a dozen protestors in Tartus city took to the streets demanding the fall of the regime, and objecting to the disproportionate number of Alawites killed in the ranks of the Syrian army, reported pro-opposition news network All4Syria.
It was the first such protest in Tartus since the start of the revolution.
The participants, reportedly all of whom were Alawites, were “led off in a barbaric fashion to the military intelligence branch in the al-Hurra area,” Banan al-Hassan, a member of the Latakia branch of the civil society group Syrian Revolution General Commission, wrote on her Facebook page October 15.
-November 12, 2014
-Photo courtesy of Halab Today TV.