Regime airstrikes kill 73, Syrian rebels push forward offensive

Published April 27th, 2015 - 04:42 GMT

Al-Qaeda fighters and allied Syrian rebels on Monday claimed another success in their offensive in the northwest of the country, capturing a major military base.

As the Qarmid base, just south of the provincial capital Idlib, fell to the rebels, a monitoring group said government airstrikes in the region had killed 73 civilians in 24 hours.

The strikes, following the fall of the key town of Jisr al-Shughur on Saturday, killed 54 people in the town of Darkoush alone, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The rebels meanwhile posted videos and pictures online showing their fighters inside the Qarmid base.

They said the attack started when two Saudi suicide bombers blew themselves up at the entrance to the base, paving the way for a full-scale assault.

The Observatory said the attack was carried out by forces of a joint rebel command called the Army of Conquest, including Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate the al-Nusra Front, the Ahrar al-Sham rebel group and other mainly Islamist brigades.

The offensive has seen Idlib city as well as Jisr al-Shughur fall to the rebels, who are now turning their attention to remaining government bases in the area as well as pushing into the rich agricultural al-Ghab plain further south.

Apparently buoyed by the successes of the Idlib campaign, rebel groups also announced the formation of a new "operations room" for the "conquest of Aleppo."

Aleppo, the largest city in northern Syria, is divided between a regime-controlled west and a rebel-held eastern sector - with the latter shattered by almost three years of bombardment that has caused most of its population to flee.

Regime forces have repeatedly tried to cut off rebel supply lines to the eastern sector, but government supply lines to the western half are also vulnerable.

By Pol O Gradaigh

© 2022 dpa GmbH

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