A view shows a damaged part of the army's 17th Division base after ISIS fighters seized it from forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar Assad outside Syria's northern Raqqa province August 10, 2014. (REUTERS/Stringer)
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Islamist extremists fired rockets and tank shells Wednesday at a major air base in northeastern Syria, kicking off a long-anticipated offensive to seize the last position held by the Syrian government in a province that is a stronghold of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) group, activists said.The attack on the Tabqa air base had been expected for weeks. It said army warplanes conducted airstrikes on suspected militant positions in the nearby town of Tabqa on the Euphrates river, which flows from Turkey through Syria into Iraq.The militant gains brought U.S. forces back into conflict in Iraq for the first time since they withdrew in 2011 .
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