Kurdish forces capture strategic air base in northern Syria

Special to WorldTribune.com

Kurdish forces have seized a key strategic airbase in Syria’s Aleppo province.

A female Kurdish YPG fighter gestures during fighting with ISIL in Syria. /Reuters/File
A female Kurdish YPG fighter gestures during fighting with ISIL in Syria. /Reuters/File

Backed by Arab rebel allies, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) drove Islamists and other rebel fighters from the Minnigh air base and the adjacent town, which are located north of Syria’s second city Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Feb. 11.

“With the defeat at Minnigh, Islamist fighters lost the only military airport they held in Aleppo province,” Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces lost control of the Minnigh base in August 2013.

YPG forces took the air base after advancing east from the Kurdish stronghold of Afrin, taking over a series of villages before reaching Minnigh.

Islamist and rebel groups in and around Aleppo are facing a dual advance by both Kurdish forces coming from the west and Assad regime troops, backed by Iranian militias and Russian air strikes, approaching from the north.

The Observatory said more than 500 people have been killed since the government began its offensive in Aleppo province on Feb. 1.

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