Militants of al Qaeda's Syrian affiliate and other Islamic fighters took over the last major government-held town in the northwestern province of Idlib in Syria on Saturday, the Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported, citing a monitoring group.
The rebel fighters launched their attack on Jisr al-Shughour on Thursday, less than a month after they seized control of the provincial capital of Idlib. Al-Nusra Front and allied groups have seized three checkpoints around the town, which is strategically located near the border with Turkey, the AFP reported, citing the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
“Al-Nusra Front and the Islamist brigades … took control of almost all the city,” Rami Abdel Rahman, the chief of SOHR, told the AFP. “Government forces fled.”
After 4 years of being firmly under occupation by the Assad regime, Jisr Al Shughour has finally been liberated by the Syrian rebellion
— Karim (@SaiyanSyrian) April 25, 2015
Syrian forces captured Jisr al-Shughour, a town of 50,000, in June 2011, when armed gangs killed more than 120 security personnel in the town, Reuters reported.
— Mark (@markito0171) April 25, 2015
Last month, Sunni Islamist militants took control of the city of Idlib, the capital of the province of Idlib, after they had formed an alliance called the “Army of Fatah,” which included Al-Nusra, the Ahrar al-Sham movement and Jund al-Aqsa, according to Reuters.