Nearly 24 hours after liberating the M-42 Highway leading to Salamiyyah in the Hama Governate, the Syrian Arab Army tactifully retreated the Tabqa Airbase and moved their forces west towards Hama. Approximately 300 soldiers moved out of the airbase, while the aircraft at the base evacuated the heavy armory. Despite the SAA’s success the last six days, the embattled soldiers remained besieged in multiple areas at Tabqa Airbase. Firefights were reported from the M-42 Highway, as clashes continue between Islamic State militants and the Syrian Army soldiers from Tabqa Airbase.
Tabqa Airbase was the last Syrian Army base in the Ar-Raqqa Governate. Its subsequent fall has led to the absence of the Syrian Army’s presence within Ar-Raqqa. The Islamic State now occupies most of the Ar-Raqqa Governate, while the YPG (Kurdish militia) control areas in the north.