Syria rebels spring 100 inmates in jail firefight: watchdog
AFPBEIRUT -- Syrian rebels freed more than 100 inmates as they battled against regime troops in a major prison outside the northwestern city of Idlib on Saturday, a watchdog said.
January 27, 2013, 12:04 am TWN
At least 10 rebels have been killed since Friday in clashes inside the prison, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of activists and medics across the war-torn country for its information.
“The rebels have been able to free more than 100 prisoners since fighting broke out on Friday, but they have not gained control of the prison,” the Britain-based Observatory's director, Rami Abdel Rahman, told AFP by telephone.
Videos posted online by activists showed rebels inside the facility at the western entrance of the provincial capital. Idlib remains under regime control, but its province is mostly opposition-held.
Dozens of prisoners were shown escaping to an outdoor area of the prison, protected by rebels, as gunfire and explosions are heard.
One man collapsed, bleeding profusely, and others were seen struggling to carry him.
Other green night-vision footage apparently from inside the prison showed bombed-out cells and dead inmates on the floor, who prisoners say were summarily executed by soldiers.
The Observatory said it has documented hundreds of cases nationwide in which detainees have been tortured to death and many others permanently disabled by torture.
The authenticity of the videos could not be immediately verified.
Elsewhere in Syria, eight rebels and one civilian were killed during clashes with troops in the central city of Homs and shelling on the nearby opposition stronghold of Qusayr, the Observatory said.
It also reported that a child died from wounds sustained on Friday in air raids on Homs, whose position on the route linking Damascus to the sea makes it a strategic point in the conflict.