Free at last: One of the 300+ soldiers inside Kuweires military airbase after the Syrian army lifted the IS siege.
Elite Syrian army units have broken the siege of Kweires airbase, following weeks of intense fighting against Islamic State and other jihadist forces. The base, which opens up routes for offensives against Raqqa and Aleppo, had been encircled for nearly two years.
“We, the heroes of Kweires, are now celebrating this victory with our brothers,” a soldier told Syrian state television.
“We dedicate this victory to President Bashar Assad and we promise him we will continue fighting until all of Syria is liberated. We will not kneel to Daesh [Islamic State].”
The advancing Tiger Forces, the name for the commando units in the government army, who were completing a drive that began on October 16, reportedly liberated several hundred soldiers.
Syrian government troops staged a counter-offensive in the north of the country, and are now pushing towards the rebel stronghold of Aleppo, where fighting has moved from street to street, and towards Raqqa, Islamic State’s (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) de facto capital in Syria.
The Kweires base holds symbolic value for the Syrian people following devastating incursions by IS in August. The relatives of the soldiers inside the base had been staging public protests calling for the facility to be taken back. […]