IS Storms Air Base in E. Syria

IS Storms Air Base in E. SyriaIS Storms Air Base in E. Syria

IS militants stormed parts of a sprawling army air base Saturday in eastern Syria after days of clashes that killed dozens on both sides, the AP reported.

The sprawling base, outside the city of Deir el-Zour, has been used by the government in the past months to launch air raids on areas held by the IS bordering Iraq.

The Britain-based group calling itself Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the latest attack began Saturday with a suicide car bomb attack at the main entrance of the Deir el-Zour air base. The IS began a major offensive on the air base, one of the last government-held areas in the province of Deir el-Zour, on Thursday.

The Observatory said that since Thursday, 111 fighters on both sides have been killed, including 51 troops and pro-government militiamen. It said some 60 IS members have been killed, of which 25 were Syrian.

IS supported posted photos on social media showing two military helicopters that they claimed were captured by the militants.

State news agency SANA said the government’s air force was taking part in the operations at the air base, adding that they destroyed an IS convoy consisting five armored vehicles and four pickup trucks mounted with heavy machine guns.