CAIRO – Al-Nusra Front, the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda, managed on Wednesday to completely control the military airport of Abu al-Duhur, the last stronghold of the Syrian regime in the northern province of Idlib, after being surrounded for more than two years by the Islamist rebels.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, or SOHR, said in a statement that control of the airport came after violent attacks carried out by al-Nusra Front militants and other Islamist factions “taking advantage of bad weather and sandstorms that have struck the province of Idlib and several other provinces.”
The London-based NGO pointed out that fighting between al-Nusra Front, backed by other Islamist rebels, and Syrian regime forces is still ongoing around the airbase.
There were no figures about casualties so far, although the NGO noted that there were an unknown number of dead and wounded people among the Syrian regime ranks.
The airport was paralyzed for over two years by al-Nusra Front and Islamist factions, while the Syrian army aircrafts could not take off.
At the end of August more than 40 Syrian soldiers and Islamist rebels and jihadists were killed in fighting to control this airport.
Idlib province has been almost entirely controlled by al-Nusra Front and other Syrian rebel groups, while the pro-Syrian regime forces control only the Shiite-dominated towns of Kefraya and al-Fuaa.