Last August, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) conceded the Tabaqa Military Airport to the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) after a three day long battle, which led to the surrender and eventual execution of 200+ SAA soldiers outside of the base’s parameters.
Fast forward 13 months, the completely isolated Abu Al-Dhuhour Military Airport inside the Idlib Governorate’s eastern countryside was under a grave threat from the Syrian Al-Qaeda faction “Jabhat Al-Nusra” and their affiliate group “Jund Al-Aqsa”, who were prepared to dedicate the necessary resources to usurp the Syrian Army’s defenses and seize the base.
On Wednesday morning, the Al-Qaeda affiliates finally achieved this military endeavor, capturing the base from the Syrian Arab Army and the Al-Daher Hawks Brigade after a long and costly battle for both parties involved.
The Syrian Arab Army was able to withstand the Jabhat Al-Nusra onslaught for two years; however, the poor visibility from the countrywide sandstorm had grounded the much needed Syrian Arab Air Force (SAAF).
Without the Syrian Air Force, the soldiers at the Abu Al-Dhuhour Military Airport were sitting ducks, facing three different attacks at three different axes, while being swarmed by an overwhelming amount of Islamist militants that remained undeterred by their losses.
According to a source inside the Abu Al-Dhuhour Military Airport, the base that once housed 600-700 Syrian Arab Army personnel was degraded to roughly 250 soldiers – the majority of them were from the Al-Daher Hawks Brigade.
The source further added that only one group of 18 soldiers was known to have escaped the Abu Al-Dhuhour Military Airport, while the remaining were either dead, captured, or unaccounted for – most were captured after they evacuated the base.