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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.
Posted by:tipper

#3  Syrian rebels: We're on our way to Assad

The air base is a few miles from the Turkish border and 200 miles from Damascus. It took them 2 years of fighting to take the air base. At this rate, they'll take Damascus some time in the next 10 years.
Posted by: Zhang Fei   2013-01-11 23:16  

#2  Update
Syrian rebels: We're on our way to Assad
After seizing strategic airbase of Taftanaz, rebels turn to their main target: Presidential palace in Damascus. 'With Allah's help, we are headed in your direction Bashar,' websites affiliated with rebels state
Posted by: tipper   2013-01-11 15:55  

#1  60 helicopters stationed at Taftanaz -- leaving behind around 20

I take that to mean 33% were non-flyers. Not too shabby for Soviet era (?) equipment in the middle of a war.
Posted by: Shipman   2013-01-11 15:51