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IS jihadists seize military airport in Syria - the last stronghold of Damascus regime in northern province

Published on Aug 25, 2014 2:29 AM
 
A man holds up a knife as he rides on the back of a motorcycle touring the streets of Tabqa city with others in celebration after Islamic State militants took over Tabqa air base, in nearby Raqqa city August 24, 2014. Islamic State militants stormed the air base in north-east Syria on Sunday, capturing most of it from government forces after days of fighting over the strategic location, a witness and a monitoring group said. Fighting raged inside the walls of the Tabqa air base, the Syrian army's last foothold in an area otherwise controlled by IS, which has seized large areas of Syria and Iraq. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIRUT (AFP) - Islamic State jihadists on Sunday won a bloody battle for Tabqa military airport, last stronghold of the Damascus regime in Syria’s northern province of Raqa, a monitoring group and state media said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 346 jihadists and 25 Syrian troops had been killed in the fighting at the airport since last Tuesday, with another 170 soldiers dying during fierce clashes on Sunday.

“One hundred and seventy Syrian soldiers were killed on Sunday in the offensive which led to the IS jihadists seizing Tabqa airport,” the Observatory said in an email to AFP.

Syrian state television said troops had staged an “evacuation” of the airport.

 
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