Regime buries hopes of breaking hospital siege

Syrian army soldiers and high-ranking officials in the city of Tartus buried Saturday an unspecified number of fighters killed at the National Hospital in Jisr a-Shughour, reported the pro-regime Tartus Now Facebook page.

Rebels took complete control of the National Hospital from regime forces on Friday, following a siege that lasted more than a month. Regime losses included 208 soldiers, among them officers, reported the pro-opposition Syrian Revolutionary Network, based on information found on pro-regime websites and social media.

“The hospital was stormed [by opposition forces] after a regime attempt to secure the escape of their forces under the cover of heavy bombardment of the area,” Ali al-Hafawi, a spokesman for Ahrar a-Sham, told Syria Direct on Sunday.

“A number of soldiers escaped to the surrounding orchards, but opposition forces were able to kill or detain the majority of them.”

The loss of the hospital comes as a major blow to the regime, which had promised to break the siege, continued al-Hafawi.

After the capture of the National Hospital, remaining regime-controlled areas in Idlib province include Ariha and neighboring Jabal al-Arbain, the Shiite-majority towns of Fuaa and Kafariya, and the Abu A-Dhuhur airbase, besieged by rebels for more than two years.

-Photo courtesy of tartus Now

Noura Hourani

Noura Hourani is from Latakia province. She studied English Literature at Tishreen University and previously worked as a private English tutor in Syria. She has worked at Syria Direct since 2015 and was named the 2018 Middle East and North Africa Laureate for the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers' (WAN-IFRA) Women in News Editorial Leadership Award. Follow Noura on Twitter: @nanozain81

Samuel Kieke

Samuel Kieke was a 2014-2015 CASA I fellow in Amman, Jordan. He received his BA from the University of Texas at Austin in Arabic Language and Literature, Middle Eastern Studies, and International Relations and Global Studies.