Syrian Armed Forces have taken complete control of the northern city of Jisr al-Shughur, Syrian human rights activists reported on Monday, a day after troops
backed by tanks and helicopters launched a major assault on the town.RELATED:
the wake of the fighting, refugees continue to pour into Turkey, with the United
Nations saying Monday that more than 10,000 Syrians have fled the
Syrian forces attack town, refugees flee to Turkey
US accuses Syria of creating humanitarian crisis
With a near total dearth of foreign reporters or international
observers on the ground, it is impossible to confirm how many people have died
in and around the town and whether or not the fighting could represent a
decisive moment in the anti-regime uprising that broke out in March against the
Assad family’s more than 40- year rule of Syria.
The Syrian government
has stated that the town of 50,000 some 20 miles from the Turkish border was
targeted because more than 120 security personnel were killed there last week by
people whom they have referred to as “armed gangs.”
Local residents have
stated that the deceased were in fact Syrian soldiers killed by the army after
Refugees told Reuters in southern Turkey on Monday that Syrian
soldiers had rounded up hundreds of people in villages outside Jisr al-Shughur,
focusing mainly on men between the ages of 18 and 40.
The Syrian state
news agency SANA quoted a Syrian TV anchor, in reference to the government’s
targeting of Jisr al-Shughur, as saying, “All that highlights is that the
organized armed groups are logistically backed by Arab, regional and Western
countries and that indicates the volume of the conspiracy hatched against
Syria,” Mohammad added.
The anchor said she saw the bodies of 83 state
security officers who were beheaded and burned or buried in mass
The SANA report also stated that security forces had seized a man
they said was part of a “terrorist group” that raped, massacred and horrified
local residents of the town.
A previous SANA report issued on Sunday
night said that Syrian army units were taking to the hills and mountains outside
of town and near the Turkish border in order to pursue gunmen.
is consistent with a BBC dispatch on Monday that quoted Syrian military sources
who said the army is planning to deploy to the town of Maarat al-Numan,
southeast of Jisr al-Shughur.
Meanwhile, the number of refugees in
southern Turkey continues to climb, with the UN saying that more than 10,000
Syrians have fled the country and that more than 1,200 have been killed in the
On Monday, Valerie Amos, the under-secretary general for
humanitarian affairs at the UN, said, “It is important that we find out exactly
what is happening in Syria so that we can provide help if
Amos, who also serves as the UN’s emergency relief
coordinator, expressed her hope that “the government of Syria will allow an
independent assessment to be conducted.”
Hicham Hassan, Near and Middle
East spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross, told The
on Monday that “until now the ICRC is not present on the border
between Turkey and Syria. This means that we do not have information on
the number of persons who are heading towards Turkey.”
organization does have a small office in Ankara, Hassan said they have no
definitive estimate of the number of refugees currently in southern Turkey. He
said that if requested, they are ready to assist, but that such a request has
not been made, as the Turkish government has taken the reigns in dealing with
the refugee crisis.