Middle East

Syria army seeks to reopen Aleppo airport: military

A fighter from Tawhid Brigade, which operates under the Free Syrian Army, runs beside a tank in Base 80 area of Aleppo, November 10, 2013. Syrian forces backed by Lebanese Hezbollah militants recaptured an army base in northern Syria from rebels on Sunday, the third day of heavy fighting for the strategic military target which has changed hands three times since Friday. State media and activists said President Bashar al-Assad's forces were in full control of the 80th Brigade base, which lies jus

DAMASCUS: The Syrian army has secured most of the area around Aleppo International Airport and could reopen the facility which fighting has kept closed for nearly a year, a military source said Monday.

"All of the area southeast of the airport is in the hands of the army," the source told AFP, on condition of anonymity, adding that a reopening was "now possible."

The comments came a day after the army gained control over Base 80, a strategic facility charged with securing the airport just outside Aleppo, Syria's second city.

The army's advances follow the fall of Sfeira, a town southeast of Aleppo that was recaptured by regime troops at the beginning of November, after months in rebel hands.

"After several days of fighting, the army controls the portion of the highway between Sfeira and Aleppo," the source said,

State media and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights both said the army had also secured control of Tal-Aran town, one of the last areas under rebel control on the Sfeira-Aleppo road.

"The recent military operations have allowed the army to cut the supply lines of the armed men (rebels) from Aleppo to the north and east," Al-Watan newspaper reported.

Aleppo airport in northern Syria was closed at the start of the year amid security concerns as rebels launched a campaign to seize several airfields in the area.

Rebels now control the Minnigh and Jarrah military airports, but the regime has managed to cling on to several others that remain under opposition siege.





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