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Syrian government forces repel ISIS attack on air base

(Reuters)
Filed on December 6, 2014

119 fighters on both sides killed as ISIS fighters broke into the Deir Al Zor air base at dawn on Saturday but were forced to retreat.

A Syrian military source said on Saturday that government forces had repelled an attack by ISIS militants on an air base in the eastern province of Deir Al Zor, one of the last remaining government stronghold in eastern Syria.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said ISIS fighters broke into the Deir Al Zor air base at dawn on Saturday but were forced to retreat. It said 119 fighters on both sides were killed.

A Syrian security source, when asked about the breach, said: “The terrorists have been unable to control the air base.”

The ISIS has been gradually consolidating control of the oil-producing Deir Al Zor province this year. President Bashar Al Assad’s forces have held on to the local military air base and parts of the provincial capital.

The Observatory said 51 of Assad’s forces and 68 members of ISIS had been killed in the three-day offensive.

“Elements of the ISIS also pulled out of a mountain overlooking Deir Al Zor due to intense shelling,” the Observatory said.

State media said on Saturday that the army had killed “a number of terrorists” in Al Jufra, an area close to the airport.

ISIS has been under pressure from US air strikes in Syria since September, but that has not stopped it from launching attacks on Assad’s forces and other targets to expel government forces and rival rebels.

The Twitter account of the US embassy in Syria said late on Friday that a US air strike in Deir Al Zor had hit ISIS targets: three vehicles, an excavator and a training camp.

It was unclear whether the attacks took place near the base.

Deir Al Zor borders territories in Iraq are also controlled by ISIS. The province’s oilfields are a major source of revenue for the group.





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