A Syrian rebel fighter examines the tail section of a downed Syrian Air Force MIG-21, which was shot down by the rebel forces in Idlib. File photo
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ALEPPO – Syrian rebel factions have seized control of a key airbase in Idlib province after a two-year siege, military sources reported on Wednesday.
Abu al-Duhur airbase was the last position for pro-Assad forces in the northwestern province of Idlib.
A rebel coalition led by al-Nusra Front (Syria’s al-Qaeda branch) took over the airbase after fierce battles that led to the withdrawal of regime forces.
Speaking to ARA News in Idlib, Nusra member Abu al-Fatih al-Idlbi said: “After two years of besieging this strategic airbase, our forces have finally liberated Abu al-Duhur from pro-Assad militants.”
“This victory is dedicated to our martyrs who sacrificed over the past few years in Idlib and other Syrian provinces,” he said. “The province is now completely free of pro-Assad gangs.”
Activists reported that the Islamist rebels were able to break into the airbase when a duststorm hit the region and paralyzed movements of the regime air force.
Rebel forces have earlier seized major cities and towns in Idlib province. The fighting for Abu al-Duhur airbase continued as dozens of pro-Assad forces were stationed inside the base to defend the final regime position in the province.
Under heavy blows by rebel factions and allied militants of al-Nusra Front, pro-Assad forces withdrew from Abu al-Duhur airbase.
Reporting by: Taim Khalil
Source: ARA News