Monday, August 25, 2014

ISIS captures major military air base in Syria using Palestinian tactics - a child suicide bomber

(National Post) Jihadist fighters captured a major military air base in northeastern Syria on Sunday, removing the last government-held post in a province the extremists claim as part of their new “Islamic State.”

The storming of Tabqa air field, a major government military facility containing several squadrons of planes, helicopters, tanks and artillery, is a significant victory for the Islamic State of the Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).

“Some of the Syrian regime troops pulled out, and now the Islamic State is in full control of Tabqa,” said Rami Abdurrahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. “This makes Raqqa province the first to fully fall out of government hands.”

At least 500 fighters from both sides were reported to have died in the fighting over recent days, with casualties among ISIS forces said to be running twice as high as among the government troops. [...]

Located just 40 kilometres from Raqqa, Tabqa military base had been besieged for several weeks, forcing the Syrian regime to supply its trapped soldiers by parachute.

In recent days however, ISIS stepped up its campaign, dispatching suicide bombers to breach the base’s outer wall – including, according to its social media accounts on Friday, Sufian al Omar, a 14-year-old boy who it claimed had joined his father in a “suicide operation” at Tabqa.