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ISIS attacks Syria hospital, kills 20 troops

AFP
Published : May 15, 2016, 6:55 am IST
Updated : May 15, 2016, 6:55 am IST

ISIS on Saturday overran a government-controlled hospital in eastern Syria, killing 20 members of pro-regime for-ces and taking medical staff hostage, a monitor said.

ISIS on Saturday overran a government-controlled hospital in eastern Syria, killing 20 members of pro-regime for-ces and taking medical staff hostage, a monitor said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the jihadists attacked Al-Assad hospital in Deir Ezzor as they press an advance to try to control the oil-rich city and its vital airbase. The attack sparked clashes with regime forces providing security for the hospital in which six jihadists were also killed, the monitor said.

“IS attacked Al-Assad hospital at the city’s western entrance, killing at least 20 soldiers and allied fighters,” said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.

The jihadists “seized the hospital and captured the medical staff, holding them hostage”, he said.

ISIS’ Amaq news agency said its fighters stormed the Assad Hospital and also took control of a check point, a fire station and university accommodation in the city close to Syria's eastern border with Iraq.

The agency also said the militants had taken territory near the al-Tayyam oil fields, in the vicinity of the state-held military airport on the city's southern edge.

The jihadist group controls about 60 per cent of Deir Ezzor, including the centre and the north of the city.

It has imposed a siege on government-held districts in the south and east where about 2,00,000 civilians have been trapped since March 2014.

The jihadists, who also control nearly all the surrounding province, have repeatedly attacked the government enclave and seized several neighbourhoods since the start of this year.

But their efforts to capture the airbase located in the south of the city have been crushed by elite regime troops.

In the northern city of Aleppo, the Observatory said, seven civilians including two children were killed over the previous 48 hours in rebel shelling of government-held western sectors. A ceasefire in the divided city expired on Wednesday at midnight.

The Observatory also reported heavy fighting on the edge of rebel-held Daraya, a town near Damascus under siege by government forces since 2012 and where the Red Cross was thwarted in an operation to deliver urgent humanitarian aid this week.

Location: Lebanon, Beirut