Syrian army frees 100s of troops from air base

2015-11-10 19:24


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Beirut - The Syrian army on Tuesday forced its way through Islamic State-held territory to relieve hundreds of troops besieged in an isolated air base for two years, state media reported.

A news flash on state television said troops had broken the siege of Kuweires military airport, east of the divided city of Aleppo.

A pro-opposition monitoring group confirmed that government forces had broken through to the base.

Initial information that they had succeeded in opening a safe passage for the troops was as yet unconfirmed, Rami Abdel-Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Kuweires, 30km east of Aleppo in northern Syria, has been under attack since December 2012, first by rebel forces and later by Islamic State, which now holds most of eastern Aleppo province.

Since early May, Islamic State has mounted several attempts to overrun the base.

The extremist group's mass executions of soldiers after overrunning isolated military bases in eastern Syria has provoked anger in the government's coastal heartland, the stronghold of the Alawite minority to which President Bashar Assad belongs.

Regime forces backed by Russian planes last month launched a major push to relieve the base.

On the coast, the official SANA news agency said 16 people were killed and 53 injured when two rockets fired by rebels hit the port city of Latakia.

The Observatory put the death toll at at least 23.

The Danish parliament meanwhile agreed to send a mobile radar system to monitor airspace in Iraq and Syria where US-led forces are targeting Islamic State.

The radar system, which will be manned by a 30-strong force, replaces seven F-16 jet fighters that were recalled to Denmark last month when their year-long mission ended.

The Syrian conflict, which began with peaceful demonstrations in 2011, has spiralled into a multi-sided civil war that has cost more than 250 000 lives and driven more than 11 million people from their homes, according to United Nations figures.

Read more on:    syria

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