The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) monitoring group said on Thursday that Syrian rebels killed 56 regime soldiers during an assault that led to the seizure of the Abu Dohur military airport in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib province yesterday following two days of fierce clashes with regime fighters.
On ground activists said through social media, at least 300 of Syrian regime officials and soldiers were arrested in the airport, but the number still could not be verified from other sources.
According to the SOHR, the attack was accompanied by mutual shelling from both sides. Syrian state television later confirmed the incident, saying that the Al Qaeda affiliated Nusra Front succeeded in seizing the airport entirely after two continuous years of confrontations.
The Syrian regime had launched several air strikes on the battlefield, the SOHR reported.
Airport has been surrounded by the rebels for more than two years and since then violent clashes between regime forces and rebels have been ongoing.
— Zaid Benjamin (@zaidbenjamin) September 9, 2015
The operation to capture Abu Dohur airport was organised by Fateh army, which is an operation room comprised of prominent Syrian opposition groups such as Ahrar al Sham, Jund al Aqsa, Ajnadu-Sham, Faylak al Haq, Faylak al Sham, Sunna Army suqur al sham, alongside with the Nusra Front.
It was comprised in May to capture Idlib city, one of the last regime strongholds. After capturing the city the alliance continued achieving to capture lands from the regime in the northwest of the country.
The province of Idlib has got a strategic position. It is near the highway that links Aleppo to Damascus the capital and to Latakia province, the stronghold of Syrian President Bashar al Assad and his allies.
The UN estimates, over 240,000 people have been killed in Syria since the start of the war in 2011 as an uprising and later descended into a complex civil war.
More than half of the 22-million population of the country have fled their homes and they are displaced either internally or externally, leaving the rest of Syrians in humanitarian aid need, including 5.6 million children.