Lost by the Syrian Army in md-2015, troops today finally re-captured the Abu al-Duhur military airport, the major air base inside the rebel-dominated Idlib Province, and the focus of weeks of military offensive in the area.
Syrian forces have been pushing into the southern part of Idlib Province since the start of January, but faced a fierce counter-offensive from various rebel factions within, and allegations that Turkish-backed rebels were also deployed to keep them making too many gains.
It’s not clear the airbase is of immediate practical value after years under rebel control, as it’s presumably been repeatedly looted and damaged in fighting. Still, the capture is symbolic of Syria’s recent military progress.
Idlib is largely the “last” major rebel territory in the country, Turkish-occupied northern Aleppo notwithstanding. With so many rebels evacuated into Idlib in recent months, there are a lot of factions based there, and the military’s recovery of the province, if they manage such a push, would be devastating for a lot of different groups.
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