Syrian opposition captures strategic city in Idlib province as UN calls for peace talks

Jisr al-Shughur is captured by Syrian opposition groups and Nusra Front after three days of continuous clashes, as UN calls for peace talks in May

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Syrian opposition groups including Ahrar al-Sham and al Qaeda's Syria affiliate Nusra Front announced they seized control over 'Jisr al-Shughur' city.

The announcement comes after three days of heavy confrontations with Syrian regime forces in what the opposition calls the “Victory Battle" according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

Levant front and Islam Army joined " Fatah Army" in the operation to take control of Jisr al-Shughur.

"Fatah Army" which is an operation room comprises the main opposition factions along with Nusra Front started the battle to capture Idlib city on March 24.

The alliance took over Idlib on March 28 after four days of fighting against regime forces and still advancing towards the districts of the coastal provinces which are the remaining strongholds of regime.

More than 60 Syrian regime soldiers including officials were killed Jisr al-Shughur, according to the SOHR, while the regime continues to conduct more air strikes on the region and its outskirts.

In 2011, the Syrian opposition forced regime security forces out of Jisr al- Shughur, killing 140 members of the latter.

Jisr al-Shughur has a strategic position as it is situated near the main regime supply lines between Aleppo and the Syrian coastal regions.

On Friday, the United Nations envoy to Syria, Stephen De Mistura, called on Syrian regime representatives and opposition groups - as well as regional powers - to attend peace talks in May.

"The U.N. and myself have the right and will be inviting everyone, including Iran. There is nothing new telling us today that the political process will succeed or not," de Mistura told reporters.

"We will start in early May and we will be meeting one after the other, everyone. Not together but separately."

The four-year war in Syria has claimed the lives of more than 220,000 civilians, displaced 7.6 million and forced 4 million to flee the country, according to UN.