- Turkish Prime Minister Denies Preparations for Military Intervention
- Videos: Rebels in Idlib-Hama Offensive Fire at Regime Forces Near Frikka
- Picture: Kafranbel’s Protest for a No-Fly Zone
- Pro-Assad Site Complains: Islamic State Threatens Deir ez-Zor in Eastern Syria After Elite Forces Redeployed Near Damascus
The Islamic State is continuing its attempts to capture regime airbases in Aleppo Province in northwest Syria and in Deir ez Zor in the east.
The militants launched their latest offensive against Kweires Airbase in southeast Aleppo Province at the start of the week. The base, the largest facility for air training before the Syrian conflict, is disused; however, the regime still positions a large number of forces there.
On Friday, the Islamic State attacked the western and northern barriers of the base. A pro-Assad website claims the assaults were repelled, with 26 militants killed.
The Islamic State failed in its attempt to take Kweiris last summer, as it overran other bases in Aleppo, Raqqa, and Hasakah Provinces; however, it has continued to surround the complex.
Even more serious for the Assad regime is the threat to Deir ez Zor airbase, near the provincial capital in an area divided between the militants and Syrian forces. Claims circulated on Thursday night of large explosions and the capture of Syrian troops by the Islamic State.
On Friday, Syrian soldiers reportedly tried to hold back the Islamic State on the eastern perimeter of the base.
The Assad regime has lost almost all of its operational airbases in northern Syria since last year, relying on positions further to the south for ongoing bomb and missile attacks to check rebel advances.
(Map: Al-Masdar News)
Turkish Prime Minister Denies Preparations for Military Intervention
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has denied opposition claims that Ankara is preparing for military intervention in Syria.
Speaking to a reporters on his plane returning from election rallies in eastern Turkey, Davutoğlu also denied a deal between Turkey and Saudi Arabia over intervention.
“We have had very good relation with Saudi Arabia since the new king [Salman took the throne in January],” Davutoğlu said. “There is nothing new, we agreed in the past, and the same cooperation is continuing today.”
Turkey and Saudi Arabia have stepped up the supply of weapons to Syrian rebels, bolstering offensives that have made significant advances in the northwest in the last six weeks.
The case is, the situation in Syria is changing fast. The regime has lost control of major parts of the country….Even the Alawite groups no longer give soldiers to the regime.
The balances inside Syria are changing, but no change is in question in Turkey’s stance.
He added, “Assad has stopped defending all of Syria. He is losing ground despite the support of Russia and Iran.”
Videos: Rebels in Idlib-Hama Offensive Fire at Regime Forces Near Frikka
Rebels challenge regime forces near Frikka in the vital corridor on the M4 highway between southern Idlib Province and Latakia on the Mediterrean:
The opposition has been trying to cut the highway since it captured Idlib city on March 28.
Picture: Kafranbel’s Protest for a No-Fly Zone
Protesters in Kafranbel in northwest Syria, known for their banners, challenge the reluctance by some countries to support a no-fly zone for civilians inside the country:
Pro-Assad Site Complains: Islamic State Threatens Deir ez-Zor in Eastern Syria After Elite Forces Redeployed Near Damascus
The pro-Assad Al-Masdar News complains that the Islamic State was able to capture territory in Deir ez-Zor Province, threatening the provincial capital, in eastern Syria after the Assad regime moved Republican Guards units to the front outside Damascus.
The website lists several areas of Deir ez-Zor that were attacked as well as two villages, parts of Sakr Island, and the continuing offensive against the Deir ez-Zor airbase.
Al-Masdar says the Republican Guards were transferred to the East Ghouta area near Damascus. The regime failed this week to take the town Mayda’a, breaking the rebel link between East Ghouta and al-Dumayr to the northeast, and it has not been able to suppress rebels in their key positions in the Damascus suburb of Douma.