11 January 2013, 15:47

Damascus claims fending off rebels from Taftanaz air base

Damascus claims fending off rebels from Taftanaz air base

Syrian rebels from Dzhebhat en Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham militant groups claim to have seized the Taftanaz air base in Syria's northern Idlib province.

According to Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya TV channels, militants took control over the Taftanaz airfield, which hosted up to 60 helicopters.

Damascus has denied these reports. The state-run SANA news agency alleges that troops repelled the attack and caused severe damage to rebels’ live and technical force, making them flee the base.

Syria: Rebels seize largest military airbase

Rebels overran Friday morning Taftanaz airbase, the largest in northern Syria, after several days of fierce combat, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

"The fighting at Taftanaz military airport ended at 11:00 am (0900 GMT) and the base is entirely in rebel hands," said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.

"Many regime forces have been killed and most of the soldiers and officers fled at dawn," he said by phone.

Voice of Russia, TASS, AFP

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