A pro-rebel Syrian news agency (SMART) reported the southern town of Tasil has been retaken by rebel groups linked to the Free Syrian Army. The town
A pro-rebel Syrian news agency (SMART) reported the southern town of Tasil has been retaken by rebel groups linked to the Free Syrian Army.
The town had been seized by the ISIL-linked Yarmouk Martyrs’ Brigade.
Videos posted on line purported to show armed rebel groups driving through the town being welcomed by residents.
Qaryatain residents return
Further north, the town of Qarytain was taken from ISIL fighters earlier this month by Syrian government forces.
Many buildings in the town centre were completely destroyed, with their top floors flattened and walls pock-marked by gunfire.
Although there is still an ISIL presence in the mountainous region about a dozen kilometers away, many displaced residents have returned after government troops liberated Qaryatain and cleared explosives and mines from the town center.
One senior resident said despite the difficulties, the people of Qaryatain will carry on with their lives, and resolutely said they will pick up weapons to defend their home again should their enemies return.
“This time, even I’m 64 years old, I will carry the gun and fight with the army against any one of those who tries to come back again,” said Hassan.
The Russian army has also been offering help to the returning residents by providing food, water and other basic supplies.
“We have brought special gifts for the children, including cookies, various wafer biscuits and candy,” said Sergey, a Russian solider, as he unloaded a truck of delivery for the residents..
Qaryatain lies midway between the ancient city of Palmyra and the capital, Damascus, and was once home to a sizable Christian population. Before ISIL took it over last August, it had a mixed population of around 40,000 Sunni Muslims and Christians, as well as thousands of internally displaced people who had fled from the nearby city of Homs.