Syria, Idlib: Flags destroyed and Assad defaced as rebel groups take control of the city

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Ba’ath party building in newly liberated Idlib (Via HadiAlaballah)

The city of Idlib in north-western Syria has allegedly been liberated from government forces according to monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Rebel groups have been fighting for the last 5 days and the BBC reports, “Idlib is only the second provincial centre to fall into rebel hands, after Raqqa was seized by Islamic State (IS).”

Al Manara Network tweeted, “Jabhat al-Nusra: Al Dareem, Al Qabab and Al Ashqar checkpoints have been liberated on the road to Al Mastouma, Idlib.” Al-Nusra Front, the official Syrian affiliate of Al-Qaeda fought with other groups to take charge of key institutions. According to photos posted, Jabhat al-Nusra appeared to be in control of Idlib’s Central Bank, City Council & the city’s main Secondary School.

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Assad defaced

Twitter accounts covering Ahrar al-Sham, Jund al-Aqsa and Nusra Front groups alerted followers. Abdul Bari, tweeted, “may Allah accept mujahideen who were martyred and may Allah give us more victories, amin”.

Images appeared on social media purporting to show a large poster of Bassar al-Assad being ripped down from the Ba’ath party building. Another photo shows a masked fighter bashing the head and shoulders of a statue of Assad with a hammer.  The following videos show rebels enjoying their victory in Adlib firing shots in the air and singing in celebration.

Rebels celebrate their victory in front of Idlib Municipal Building (video)

Rebels celebrating in Idlib and burning flag (video)

Residents however are said to be fleeing from Idlib city in fear of airstrikes and Channel 4 News claimed, “the army of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is reported to have responded with chlorine attacks on towns outside the city.” The following video was posted on Twitter by “Mark” purporting to show 4 children killed in regime shelling of Idlib city with rockets,

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Rebels welcomed in Idlib

Administration of Idlib

Ibn Nabih who describes himself as a “freelance reporter/translator on all things Jihadi, mainly in Syria” tweeted an initial list of 71 rebels killed during the capture of Idlib, “where a greater majority are said to be from Idlib providence.” He also tweeted how Idlib will now be administrated, as follows:-

“IMPORTANT: Shaykh al-Muhaysini (who is the head of The Shari’a Council of Jaysh al-Fath) explains how Idlib City will now be administrated;

1/3 There will be no Dar al-Qada (JN dominated) nor Hay’at al-Islamiyah (IF/FSA dominated) in it, rather a new United Court shall be set up.

2/3 The Sharia Committee to the city has been chosen & a division mechanism btwn factions has been agreed for spoils,HQs & admin of the city

3/3 The city swill be a new start for unity between the factions. And he points out that not a single dollar has been given to Jaysh al-Fath”

An earlier liberation of prisoners in Idlib, January 2013

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FSA Freeing prisoners in Idlib January 2013

Back in February 2013 Idlib was the scene of an earlier battle to wrestle control from Assad regime which led to the liberation of inmates from a notorious prison complex in the city known for its torture of inmates. At that time Global Post reported that,

“many rooms in the prison appear to have been used as crowded but adequate cells, but three underground floors tell a different tale.

In one dark room, two ropes hang above an execution platform. Other rooms house piles of heavy chains inside large metal cages. Traces of blood are still present on several cell walls.”

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/syria/130215/idlib-government-prison-torture

Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad . She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.

About Carol Anne Grayson

Blogging for Humanity.... Campaigner/researcher global health/human rights/drones/WOT/insurgency http://www.esrc.ac.uk/ESRCInfoCentre/PO/experts/Health_and_Wellbeing.aspx Exec Producer of Oscar nominated documentary Incident in New Baghdad, currently filming on drones.
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