by Tony Inglis
AN Islamic State airbase west of the jihadist group’s military stronghold in Raqqa has been reclaimed by US backed Syrian forces.
The Taqba facility has been under IS control since August 2014 but it was taken control of by Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) after US helicopters airlifted fighters behind IS lines.
The SDF hopes the currently damaged runway at Taqba can be repaired and utilised by liberation forces in its attempts to drive IS soldiers out of Raqqa.
Talal Silo, an SDF spokesperson, said: “In all the areas under our control, we do not have an airport that can receive planes.
“The coalition planes will benefit from the airport.”
It is also hoped that the gains made late on Sunday evening will allow the SDF to retake the nearby town of Taqba as well as the Taqba Dam, a key strategic base due to its role as a source of electricity in the region.
The dam has also been used as an IS headquarters where important hostages have been held and as a planning base and training centre.
Taqba airbase was the setting for the mass murder of over 200 fleeing Syrian soldiers, viewed as one of the worst atrocities committed by the extremist group.