Syrian army regains control of airport from Islamic State

Photo credit should read OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP/Getty Images.

The Syrian army has taken full control of a small airbase in eastern Aleppo countryside that was under Islamic State control, aided by heavy aerial bombing by Russian and Syrian airforces, pro-state media and an army source said on Saturday.

The al-Jarrah airport is located in the ultra-hardline militants’ remaining enclave in eastern Aleppo countryside, a region where they have mostly lost control to competing forces ranging from the Syrian army, US-backed Kurdish-led forces to Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels.

The airport was briefly stormed by the army’s elite forces last March, but the militants repelled that attack on the base they had held since 2014.

Russian and Syrian jets have also intensified their attacks on the town of Maskaneh, the last main town in the region west of the Euphrates River in eastern Aleppo countryside, former residents in touch with relatives said.

Dozens of civilians have been killed since last week in the aerial bombing of the remaining villages and towns in the area still in the control of the militants, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.