Syrian al-Qaeda Seizes Parts of Idlib Airbase in New Offensive

State Media Claims 'Large Number' of al-Qaeda Killed

Though the ceasefire between the Syrian military and al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front is holding in nearby villages, as well as the Lebanon border city of Zabadani, the al-Qaeda fighters aren’t holding back on challenging them in other areas, with reports they’ve seized parts of the Abu Duhur military airbase in Idlib Province.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says al-Qaeda and its allies seized the entrance to the base after carrying out a number of suicide bombings, and seized a number of sites on the outskirts of the base. The observartory said 16 soldiers and 18 rebels were killed.

Syrian state media discussed the incident, but only claimed that they’d killed a “large number of al-Nusra terrorists and destroyed their arms and equipment.” They did not discuss any losses of troops or territory, however, and appeared to spin the incident as a complete win for the military.

Al-Qaeda controls almost the entirety of the Idlib Province, except for the base and a couple of Alawite villages still held by the military. The Islamist faction al-Qaeda is leading has been trying to push west toward the Latakia coast, but has mostly been stalemated in the area.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.