Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Wednesday that troops would head to an insurgent-held town to help besieged soldiers holed up on its outskirts and said army setbacks were part of normal warfare.

Last month Islamist insurgents including al Qaeda’s wing in Syria, Nusra Front, captured the town of Jisr al-Shughour in Syria’s Idlib province, edging closer to the government-held heartland of Latakia along the coast.

“And now, God willing, the army will arrive soon to these heroes who are besieged in the Jisr al-Shughour Hospital to continue the battle to defeat the terrorists,” he said in comment broadcast on Syrian state television. […]