June 2011 Jisr ash-Shugur operation
|June 2011 Jisr ash-Shugur operation|
|Part of the Civil uprising phase of the Syrian civil war|
|Casualties and losses|
On 4 June 2011, during the Civil uprising phase of the Syrian civil war, the Syrian military launched an operation in the Syrian city of Jisr ash-Shugur. The government said it was targeting terrorist groups, while the Syrian opposition called it a crackdown against pro-democracy protesters. The operation lasted until 12 June 2011.
On 4 June, angry protesters set fire to a building where security forces had fired on a funeral demonstration. Eight security officers died in the fire as demonstrators took control of a police station, seizing weapons. Clashes between protesters and security forces continued in the following days. Some security officers defected after secret police and intelligence agents executed soldiers who refused to shoot civilians. At first, the opposition claimed that civilian protesters were being killed, like during the other operations of the uprising.
On 6 June, state TV started to report heavily armed groups of unknown gunmen attacking security forces in the town. According to these reports, they first ambushed a group of policemen, who were responding to calls from local residents that unknown gunmen were terrorising them, killing 20 of them. Later they attacked a police command center and overran it killing another 82 members of the security forces. Also, the gunmen attacked and blew up a post office that was guarded by the police which left another eight policemen dead. In all, 120 security forces troops were reported killed during the day.
Syria TV stated that a number of the bodies of policemen were mutilated with some of them being thrown into the river. The government said it managed to break the blockade of one neighborhood in the city while they were still fighting to unblock another. The opposition claimed that some of the security forces members attempted to mutiny and join the protesters but were killed by their commanders.
According to Al Jazeera, "Turkish officials said more than 4,000 Syrians have now crossed into Turkey, whose prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said President Assad, whom he once described as a 'brother,' had acted with 'savagery' against his own people."
Syrian security forces began an attack on the city early on 12 June, from the south and east, using up to 200 military vehicles, including tanks, as well as helicopters. According to Syrian state media, troops battled "army units and members of armed organisations taking up positions in the surroundings of Jisr al-Shughour and inside it," though witnesses in the area said that the city was almost empty by the time the army began its attack. While residents of the area had reported shelling of the city, an army general said that troops were only trying to find those responsible for the earlier deaths and no shelling had taken place.
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