Syrian Army reclaims Jarrah Airbase from Islamic State

After months of seige-style heavy hand-to-hand fighting the Syrian Army finally drove out the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) from the Jarrah airbase in eastern Aleppo early on Saturday. The airbase was lost to advancing IS in January 2014. The push for Jirah or al-Jarrah airbase begun early on May 9, 2017.

It would be important to note that before it fell to the ISIS, the Jarrah airbase was captured from the Syrian army by rebels known as the Free Syrian Army in February 2013. The FSA alleged that the Jarrah air base was being used to bomb northern and eastern rural Aleppo.

Presently the Syrian army is involved in clearing operations. Earlier in the day, ISIS withdrew from the airbase, although a few pockets of resistance still remain. The Syrian forces are expected to continue their advance.

The Syrian army had launched a major offensive against IS in eastern Aleppo province in mid-January. They were supported by Russia.

Fought largely in urban and rural settings – the military push has seen heavy fighting and the army’s advance have been slow and difficult. Since February 2017 the Syrian army has retaken at least 170 towns and villages in the area.

The government forces are expected to move in on the town of Maskana, situated on the banks of Lake Assad.

The Syrian army is not the only force that is battling the ISIS in Syria. Further east, near Raqa, a loose alliance of Syrian Arabs and Kurds are battling the IS with US support.

Since the conflict begun in the March of 2011, more than 4 lakh Syrians have been killed and tens of lakhs have been displaced.


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