Islamists Join Syrian Rebels in Military Airfield Attack
By Dana El Baltaji - Jan 2, 2013
Syrian rebels, including an Islamist group branded a terrorist organization by the U.S., engaged in “intense” clashes with President Bashar al-Assad’s forces at a military airfield in the northern region of Idlib.
Opposition fighters appeared to be attempting to storm the Taftanaz airbase following heavy shelling, according to an e- mailed statement from the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The intense clashes left at least four rebels dead and one helicopter damaged, the observatory said. The opposition group said Jabhat al-Nusra, designated a terrorist group by the U.S. last year because of ties to al-Qaeda, had joined the attack.
Assad’s military lost barracks, airfields, heavy weaponry and oilfields across the country during the last quarter of 2012. Fighters engaged in a 22-month struggle to topple the government in Damascus also have control of mainly Sunni Muslim towns and suburbs stretching from the northeast outskirts of the capital to the southwest of the city.