Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Report: Nearly 200 dead as Syria bases lost to al-Qaeda

Beirut (AFP) - Nearly 200 combatants on both sides were killed in 24 hours when the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda took two regime bases in Idlib province, a monitoring group said on Tuesday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is based in Britain but gleans its information from a wide network of activists and medics on the ground, said Al-Nusra Front attackers also captured more than 100 regime soldiers.

"There were at least 100 dead on the regime side and 80 among the attackers, killed in clashes, bombardments and by mines," Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.

Then on Tuesday, the air force kept up its raids against the Maaret al-Numan area near the two bases, killing at least 10 civilians, said the Observatory.

The jihadists and their allies took at least 120 soldiers prisoner, while another 100 fled south towards the town of Morek in the neighbouring province of Hama.

A video distributed by the Observatory shows five of the captured soldiers kneeling on the floor of a room, stripped down to their underwear and with their hands tied behind their backs.

The captors kick the men in the face and on their heads, slap them, and then one man whips them mercilessly with a hose as one of the soldiers cries out in pain.