Beirut, Dec 16:
At least 180 people were killed in an attack by the Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, and related Islamist groups in the northern Syrian province of Idleb, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights’ (SOHR) director Rami Abderrahman said Tuesday.
In a telephone interview, Abderrahman told Efe news agency that there were 80 fighters from the Nusra Front, the Jund al-Aqsa and the Islamic Movement of the Free Men of the Levant among the casualties in the fighting Sunday and Monday, along with 100 Syrian troops.
The activist said the Islamist groups captured more than 200 regime soldiers during their attack on the two military camps of Wadi al Dif and Hamidiye, which were eventually seized by the Islamists.
Dozens of government soldiers escaped and took refuge in a town under the control of the Damascus regime in the north of the neighbouring province of Hama.
Wadi al-Diff and Hamidiye are located to the east of Maret Nuaman city and next to a major north-south highway which connects the capital, Damascus, with Aleppo.
Controlling this vital transport link would enable the Islamists to threaten the regime’s main supply lines to Aleppo.
More than 200,000 people have died since rebel groups took up arms against the Syrian government in 2011 as the so-called Arab Spring swept the Middle East. (IANS)