PHOTO: Assad troops and vehicles withdraw from Hama Province on Sunday
Last weekend the Syrian military retreated from the al-Ghab Plain in Hama Province, as rebels moved south from their capture of Idlib Province in northwest Syria this spring.
The defeats set up a possible showdown in the village of Joureen — the Assad troops moved to two key bases which shield Latakia Province, essential for the Assad regime’s survival, and bombard the opposition throughout the northwest.
Assad supporters circulate an optimistic image of the retreat: the commander of elite Syrian troops, Colonel Soheil “The Tiger” Hassan — wounded in the head by a mortar attack as rebels advanced — with officers in his private helicopter:
However, there is a far less positive portrayal in this video of the withdrawal, reportedly from Joureen:
A bystander yells at the troops:
Bravo, bravo, come here you and hand over your RPGs if you’re not using them. What are they doing with you? Why didn’t you get [kill] five rebels with them?”
Where are your officers? Who ordered this? We want to see them.
Receiving no answer, he continues:
Your options are to stick with us and fight — the terrorist base is close up the mountain — or lose your ammo and fuck off.
Another man shouts, “Curse the religion of your mother.”
Finally, one soldier replies, “We’re not looking to relax – let us go to the base.”