Syrian rebels take control of key Assad airbase
Rebels fighting the regime of Bashar al-Assad scored a significant victory on Friday when they took control of one of Syria's most important northern airbases, seizing tanks, helicopters and large amounts of ammunition.
Fighters had laid siege to the Taftanaz base near the town of Idlib for months. After seizing several buildings on Wednesday they stormed the sprawling complex on Friday morning. "As of now, the rebels are in full control of the air base," Idlib-based activist Mohammad Kanaan said.
A video from the scene shows jubilant rebels ripping down a large poster of Assad at the entrance gate. Others wave from the upper story of a barracks. Trucks carry off boxes of ammunition. The bodies of four government soldiers lay sprawled in a muddy pit.
In another video captured Sunni government soldiers claim their Alawite officers fled the base early on Friday, abandoning them to their fate. Government forces appear to have removed most of the 60 helicopters stationed at Taftanaz – leaving behind around 20 that were apparently non-functional.
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