The Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra” – in cooperation with Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, Jaysh Al-Muhajireen, and Ajnad Al-Sham – captured the predominately Alawi village of Ishtabraq in southern Jisr Al-Shughour after three days of fierce firefights in the surrounding area.
Jabhat Al-Nusra and their allies originally captured the village of Ishtabraq during their capture of Jisr Al-Shughour; however, they lost the area during a brief Syrian Arab Army (SAA) offensive on Monday.
When the Al-Qaeda affiliate originally took the village of Ishtabraq, they reportedly executed 54 civilians, while the status of another 65 villagers was unknown; this report was confirmed by the villagers who escaped this area before the Al-Qaeda militants entered and they were later interviewed by Sham FM News.
At Musbeen, the Al-Qaeda affiliates were able to capture the Quarries to the north after a brief firefight with a small contingent of 14 soldiers from the Syrian Arab Army’s 87th Brigade; the latter would withdrawal to the village of Musbeen in order to regroup and protect the frontlines.
According to a source from SAA, the Musbin Quarries is currently under Al-Qaeda control; however, the hill and the village are still under the 87th Brigade’s control, despite claims of its captureby Opposition social media activists.
For the fourth straight day, the militants from Jabhat Al-Nusra and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham attempted to infiltrate into the Jisr Al-Shughour National Hospital, where some 120 SAA soldiers from the 87th Brigade are currently entrenched this attack was repelled for the fourth time by the SAA.
The soldiers inside the Jisr Al-Shughour National Hospital reported to a military source that they have refused all calls to surrender and will not put down their arms – they are currently well-armed and possess an escape route if they wish to withdraw from the medical facility.
As the Al-Qaeda affiliates march towards the cities of Al-Mastouma and Ariha, they continue lose hundreds of militants along the way; this has been true in a number of areas, where the Islamist fighters attempt to overrun the SAA’s positions by sheer manpower, despite the significant loss of life.
In the last 24 hours near Jisr Al-Shughour, the SAA was able to identify the following enemy combatants that were killed during the firefights: Abdel-Rahman Al-Miteeri (AKA “Abu Usama Al-Jazrawi” – the Saudi leader of Al-Nusra), Abdullah Nassar (Field Commander of Al-Nusra), Firaas Al-Fakhouri, “Abu ‘Amir Al-Shaami”, ‘Uday Al-‘Abdo (Iraqi), ‘Abbas Saleh Nasser, Ahmad ‘Aamer (“Abu Bakr Al-Shamseeni”), Mohammad Majd Al-Moqdad, “Abu Jindal Al-Homsi”, “Abu Jindal Al-Jazrawi” (Saudi Al-Nusra leader), Mohammad Khayr Al-Rastan, ‘Uday Mohammad AL-Tayasini, “Abu Khattab Al-Taybaani”, Abdel-Kareem Al-Nasser, and Abdel-Rahman Al-Houri.