Islamists Capture Key Base in Syria’s East

Black Flag Raised Over Artillery Base as Government Forces Flee

by Jason Ditz, November 22, 2012

Syrian military forces have abandoned the key artillery base in the town of Mayadin today, ending a month long siege and turning the facility over to Islamist rebel fighters, who rose the black flag of the Islamist bloc over the base.

The loss of the base puts the regime decidedly on the defensive in Deir Ezzor Province, a key oil producing province in the far east of the nation. The province includes key border crossings into Iraq’s Sunni region, which has also seen a surge in sectarian violence in recent months.

It is the second capture of a military facility in the province in the past week, as rebels had previously claimed a military airport along the Iraq border. It isn’t clear if those were the same rebel faction, however, and whatever gear the Islamists seize from this base could shift the balance of power in the east and bring rebel factions into more direct conflict with one another.

As far as the regime is concern, this is going to oblige them to rely even more on air power from neighboring provinces to maintain control over the highways between cities in the east, and leaves them even further on their heels.

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