Rebels capture major Syrian army base near Deraa

Regime army base captured by rebels in southern Syria on Tuesday

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad increased on Tuesday after rebels declared the capture of a Syrian army base near the city of Deraa along the country’s border with Jordan.

"We announce the liberation of Liwa 52," said Issam al-Rayyes, a spokesman for the Southern Front alliance of rebel groups. 

Bashar al-Zoubi, leader of one of the Southern Front groups, also said the attack launched on Tuesday morning had resulted in the capture of the base.

The strip of land along the Jordan border has seen a number of victories by rebels against Assad regime forces in the last three months particularly.

"It is very important because it is the second biggest base the regime has (in the south)," Saber Safar, a former army colonel whose "First Army" rebel group was one of a number of factions that reportedly  took part in the operation, told Reuters. 

The rebels had fired more than 100 missiles at the base during the attack, the opposition-affiliated Orient News TV station sai

Success for the Southern Front groups comes after other rebel factions claimed victory recently in the northwestern province of Idlib near the Turkish border, in spite of the regime’s air strikes which have failed to stop their advance.

Along with the Nusra Front, leading opposition groups Ahrar ash-Sham, the Levant Front and the Islam Army, comprised an operations room and joined the Fatah Amy in the “Victory Battle” to capture Idlib on March 24, which fell four days later on March 28. 

Less than a month after the capturing of Idlib, two major regime military bases - al-Qarmeed and al-Mastouma - came under rebel control.

After rebels captured the town of Muhambil, the regime forces started air raids on the town, according to activists reporting on social media.

Fierce fighting still continues between regime forces and rebels around the Abu al-Duhur military airport, the largest airport in the north of the country and the last regime stronghold in the eastern part of Idlib province. 

More than 49 civilians including children were killed on Monday as a result of Syrian regime air strikes on a square in the rebel-held town of al-Janudiya in the west of Idlib province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said. 

Meanwhile Syrian opposition groups, mainly Jund al-Aqsa and the Nusra Front, captured a checkpoint on Saturday in the towns of Psenqol and Muhambil on the highway to Latakia province as the Syrian regime forces withdrew from Muhambil towards the coastal towns of Sahel al-Ghab, opposition media claimed.

According to the SOHR report, more than 230,000 people have been killed since 2011 in Syria including regime soldiers, rebels and civilians.

The report included 108,086 civilians, 11,493 of whom are children and 7,371 women. 38,593 of those killed are rebel fighters, while 49,106 are regime soldiers. 2,844 people killed in the war held other nationalities, and 3,191 unidentified people are among the dead, as well as 838 fighters from the Lebanon-based Hezbollah group which entered the war on the side of the regime.

TRTWorld and agencies