Syrian regime frees seven women prisoners after opposition threats
An Islamic court in Idlib province has reportedly forced President Bashar al-Assad's administration to release seven women it had detained after threatening to besiege the city.
The Islamic Authority for the Administration of the Liberated Regions of Idlib released a statement on Monday announcing the blockade of the province's capital, also named Idlib and held by forces loyal to Assad, to pressure the regime to release the women.
Opposition fighters threatened to block all roads in to and out from Idlib city, and to cut off water and electricity.
On Tuesday, the court announced the release of the women and the lifting of the blockade.
The Islamic authority is believed to be affiliated with the Islamist groups, the Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham.
The women are said to have been arrested two days earlier in the city of Idlib, reportedly because they were known to be related to Nusra Front fighters.
The Deputy Chief of Staff of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army, Colonel Haytham Afisi, told al-araby al-Jadeed that the regime had begun to arrest women "knowing the impact this would have on the fighters' morale".
Opposition forces surround the city of Idlib on three sides, but the regime is able to resupply its forces there via the Idlib-Lattakia road, which passes through the cities of Ariha and Jisr al-Shughur.
This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.