Battle of Saraqeb
|Battle of Saraqeb|
|Part of the Idlib Governorate clashes (September 2011–March 2012)|
11th Armoured Division
|Casualties and losses|
|30+ killed||28 killed|
|100 killed overall|
The Battle of Saraqeb started eleven days after the victory of the Syrian Army in the Battle of Idlib of March 2012, where they took back the main city of Idlib province. Saraqib was considered an important strategic point because of its size, being the second largest city of the province, and its geographic position at the junction of two highways going to Aleppo: one going south towards Hama, Homs and Damascus, and one going west towards Latakia. It was also used as a base to launch attacks on military convoys.
On 24 March, the Syrian Army shelled the city briefly while leading a ground assault at the same time. A column of tanks entered the city to attack the defenses of the rebels, while infantry backed by snipers led the second wave to pursue the remaining fighters. The Free Syrian Army fighters fought back the first day and damaged a tank. In the fighting 18 of them were killed. After the first day, the rebels were forced to withdraw from the city after the army took full control of it. An opposition group accused the army of burning most of the shops in the town and called for observers to come in the city. After the battle, security forces and Shabiha militia searched for suspected rebels and captured at least 24 and executed them.
On 28 March, the army continued their offensive and took control of Khan Sibil, a village near Saraqeb. The Arab news channel Al Jazeera showed video footage of the destruction of the city during the battle which killed dozens of armed men and civilians.
On 1 November 2012 rebels attacked three, and overran at least one, army checkpoints on the road to Saraqeb, killing 8 soldiers and 7 rebels. The rebels captured and killed 2 government soldiers, beat them up and then executed them with automatic weapons. On 2 November, Syrian Army completely withdrawn from Saraqib. After capturing Saraqib, FSA started to bomb Taftanaz Helicopter Air Base of Syrian Army.
- "Syrian Rebels Plot Their Next Moves: A TIME Exclusive". TIME. 11 February 2012. Archived from the original on 8 July 2013.
- ""They Burned My Heart" - Human Rights Watch". Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- Independent Newspapers Online. "Syrian army storms central town". Independent Online. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- "Syrian army lays siege to northwestern town". CBC News. 24 March 2012.
- AP. "Destruction as Syrian forces take opposition town".
- "Saraqeb assault witnessed by GlobalPost". GlobalPost. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- "Syrian Troops 'Overrun Last Major Stronghold'". Archived from the original on 31 March 2012. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
- "Syria - Mar 29, 2012 - 09:43". Al Jazeera Blogs. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- Syria rebels kill 28 soldiers in Idlib 2 November 2012
- In Cold Blood, Human Rights Watch, 10 April 2012.
- They Burned My Heart, Human Rights Watch, 3 May 2012.