Syrian troops have pulled out of a major airbase in northwestern Syria after a two-year siege by rebel fighters. In a newsflash on Wednesday, state television reported that the army garrison that had controlled the military airport in the province of Idlib had evacuated the post. Aljazeera was there:
The airport has been under siege for almost two years by rebels who have captured most of the province. Al Jazeera spoke to a source with knowledge of al-Qaeda-affiliate Nusra Front’s operations, who said the group had taken advantage of an ongoing sandstorm in the region to advance on the base.
“The regime couldn’t shell around the area because their planes could not shell accurately and they couldn’t see,” the source said “Nusra took advantage of that situation and took control of large parts of the airport.” The source added that not all government forces had withdrawn and clashes were continuing.
The Nusra Front is part of the Fattah Army, a coalition of rebel groups, which took control of Idlib city in March. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said fighters, including members of the Nusra Front, captured “most of the” base Wednesday, including the command centre.