Syrian army servicemen from Tartous have been besieged by ISIS in an airbase outside Aleppo.
Dozens of residents in the regime controlled coastal city of Tartous have held a protest calling on the government to rescue their relatives who are serving in an airbase outside Aleppo that is being besieged by ISIS.
Both pro-regime and pro-rebel outlets covered the unprecedented demonstration, which was staged Monday outside a local government building after a fierce assault launched by ISIS on the Kuweires Airbase left at least 18 regime troops dead, 12 of them officers.
“The families of martyred, wounded and besieged soldiers in the Kuweires Airbase gathered for a sit-in outside the Tartous Province Government HQ, demanding the lifting of the siege imposed on the airport,” the pro-Damascus Al-Binaa news outlet reported.
The governor of Tartous met with the demonstrators to reassure them that regime would remain “steadfast” in its efforts to achieve victory in Kuweires, which has been encircled by ISIS since the summer of 2014.
“We are steadfast; the battle is continuing and it is in its final stages,” breakingnews.sy quoted Safwan Abou Saadeh as telling the upset relatives.
“Victory will surely come and our trust in the protectors of the homes [the Syrian army] is strong, despite the intensity of the attack and the battles on several fronts.”
According to the outlet, Abu Saadi also told the families that “steadfastness and the fight” would go on, thanks to “the strength of the Syrian Arab Army’s determination and patriotism of the people.”
Pictures of the demonstration showed protesters holding aloft placards saying: “We want the bodies of our martyrs,” “We want our injured” as well as “We want the lifting of the siege.”
Kuweires deaths shock Tartous residents
The anti-Damascus All4Syria news outlet, in turn, reported that the demonstration had begun “after the families were shocked by news coming out of the airbase following the attack ISIS launched late on Sunday night.”
“During the attack more than 30 servicemen from Tartous province were killed, including 13 officers,” the website claimed.
“Their families weren’t even able to look at them one last time as they were all buried inside the airbase.”
All4Syria added that the protesters also lambasted the regime for not supplying food and medical aid to the servicemen besieged in Kuweires.
“The lack of these materials has caused the death of a large number of servicemen injured in ISIS’s attacks.”
Meanwhile, Al-Jazeera said the growing number of casualties among servicemen hailing from Tartous has unsettled the coastal region that serves as a bedrock of support for the Bashar al-Assad regime.
“The number of regime servicemen from Tartous province to die in the fighting has gone up at an astonishing rate, reaching nearly 90 dead last month,” an activist identifying himself as Omar al-Tartousi told the Qatar-owned network.
“Regime supporters in the Tartous area call it the ‘land of martyrs’ because of the high proportion of regime servicemen killed in fighting with opposition forces.”
“There isn’t a village that doesn’t have a funeral gathering. The municipalities of some villages have even built public funeral gathering places to reduce costs for the families of the dead.”
Tartousi told the broadcaster that for these reasons he “would not be surprised by any Alawite movement in the coastal region because of the great unrest there.”
“The opposition should take advantage of this to [create] a unified goal of toppling the regime.”