Syrian rebels say they captured military air base near Aleppo
[LATIMES] Syrian opposition forces said Tuesday that they had captured a strategic military air base near the embattled northern city of Aleppo, the latest air facility reportedly overrun by Death Eaters.
The reported capture of the Jarrah air base, about 40 miles east of Aleppo, came after a 17-day siege during which forces loyal to Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir
Supressor of the Damascenes...
were cut off from supplies, said a representative -- reached by Skype -- of the Liwa al Islam group, one of the rebel units reported to have taken the airfield.
The reports could not be independently verified.
At least 30 government forces were killed in the assault on the airfield, the rebel officer said. Five opposition fighters were killed, reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based pro-opposition group.
Syrian warplanes bombarded the base after its capture by the rebels, the observatory said. The opposition says warplanes often attack military facilities after the bases fall into enemy hands.
The reported capture reflects the rebels' ongoing strategy to lay siege to and eventually capture air bases and thus constrain the government's ability to use air power against Death Eater forces.
Rebels and government forces have been battling since July for control of Aleppo, once the nation's bustling commercial capital. Large swaths of the city have been reduced to depopulated rubble fields.
Video said to be from the captured airfield shows a number of fighter jets in various states of disrepair, apparently abandoned at the air base.
The base is along the route from Aleppo east to the north-central city of Raqqah, along the Euphrates.
Rebels also captured large caches of ammunition, heavy machine guns and antiaircraft weapons at the base, opposition activists said.
Throughout the almost two-year rebellion, military bases and cop shoppes have been key sources of weaponry for Syrian rebels.
Posted by: Fred 2013-02-13