Smoke rises from the national hospital, after what activists said was shelling by warplanes loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the town of Jisr al-Shughour, Idlib province May 22, 2015. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah
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A highly watched siege in Syria's Idlib province ended Friday when dozens of regime troops escaped the National Hospital complex in the town of Jisr al-Shughur, while others were either killed or taken prisoner by rebel groups.During a public appearance on May 6, Assad vowed that his army would lift the siege on the National Hospital, with morale among regime supporters dipping after a series of battlefield losses in Idlib and Deraa provinces in the past two months.Pro-opposition sources, meanwhile, called the day's developments the latest blow for the regime as its troops were not rescued by a nearby army contingent, but were instead forced to abandon the hospital after a nearly three-week siege by the Army of Conquest coalition of rebel groups.Although many expected the besieged troops to head for Hama province to the south, one pro-regime outlet gave the names of 14 troops who made it to Latakia province to the west, as well as listing the names of two other officers who were killed.It said 30 ISIS fighters were killed in the battles, which saw the jihadis seize the Jazal oil field.
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