Syrian army forces have carried out airstrikes in the northwestern town of Jisr al-Shughour, parts of which have fallen to al-Qaeda-linked terrorist groups, a pro-opposition monitoring group says.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least four airstrikes targeted Jisr al-Shughour, located near the border with Turkey, on Sunday. There was no immediate report on casualties.
It added that the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front and other terrorist groups on Saturday seized some checkpoints around the strategic town in Idlib Province despite dozens of airstrikes by government forces on Jisr al- Shughour and the surroundings .
According to the London-based group, at least 60 Syrian army forces were killed in the attack on Saturday.
Despite the militants’ gains, the government in Damascus controls areas to the east of the province.
The Syrian troops killed dozens of the militants, who had been trying to sneak into the town from Turkey, Syria’s official SANA news agency reported, adding that government forces have also regrouped in the suburbs of the town to cut the militants’ supply lines.
A militant raises his weapon, as smoke billows in the background, in the northwestern Syrian town of Jisr al-Shughour on April 25, 2015. © AFP
“Army units carried out night raids against a number of military positions infiltrated by armed terrorist groups in the area surrounding Jisr al- Shughour,” SANA reported.
It added, “terrorist groups carried out a horrific massacre of more than 30 civilians, mostly women and children, after entering Jisr al- Shughour.”
The al-Nusra Front terrorists launched their offensive against Syrian forces in the province on Thursday.
Idlib has been the epicenter of deadly fighting between government troops and militants for months.
Syria has been grappling with a deadly crisis since March 2011. The violence fueled by Takfiri groups has so far claimed the lives of over 222,000 people, according to the observatory.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says over 7.2 million people have been internally displaced, and more than 3 million fled the country.