Islamic State strikes major airbase in east Syria
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Islamic State strikes major airbase in east Syria

In push to seize last Assad-held position in Raqqa province, terrorists tighten their siege of sprawling facility

Fighters from Islamic State seen marching in their stronghold of Raqqa, Syria, June 2014. (AP/Militant Website, File)
Fighters from Islamic State seen marching in their stronghold of Raqqa, Syria, June 2014. (AP/Militant Website, File)

BEIRUT — Islamist extremists have launched an attack on a major air base in northeastern Syria, aiming to seize the last position held by the Syrian government in a province that is an Islamic State stronghold, activists said Wednesday.

The attack on the Tabqa air base had been expected for weeks. Islamic State fighters have tightened their siege of the sprawling facility in recent days, capturing a string of nearby villages.

The group has virtually eliminated the military’s presence in the Raqqa province, with the exception of Tabqa.

Wednesday’s attack was announced on militant websites. It was also reported by the Raqqa Media Center, an activist collective, which reported fierce clashes around the facility accompanied by government airstrikes.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported the clashes.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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