For eight hours, tumultuous explosions could be heard from all over the Ar-Raqqa countryside as the Tabqa Airbase was under siege by Islamic State militants. Relentless mortar shells and rockets were fired by both sides, along with multiple attempts by the Islamic State to enter the base with motor vehicles. The majority of the firefights took place at Safsaf Farms, located outside of the Taqba Airbase. The Syrian Armed Forces fired long-range scud missles from Base 155 in the Qalamoun Mountains to obstruct the Islamic State advance. The Syrian Arab Army successfully repelled the last Islamic State attack at 1:45 A.M. Damascus Time, when the final I.S. vehicle – loaded with a 23 mm machine gun – was destroyed.
The Tabqa Airbase is the Syrian Arab Army’s last stronghold in the Ar-Raqqa Governate. Approximately 300 soldiers from the Syrian Arab Army and Ba’ath Brigades are entrenched in the base, with the Syrian Air Force providing necessary cover-fire. The siege is expected to continue in the morning at Safsaf Farms, where an estimated 800 Islamic State fighters are spread out across.