Rebels including al-Qaeda’s local affiliate seized the Syrian regime’s largest remaining military base in northwestern Idlib province on Tuesday, a monitor said.
The loss of Al Mastumah base leaves only a few positions in regime hands in the province, which lies along the border with Turkey and neighbours the government stronghold of Latakia province on the Mediterranean coast.
“All regime forces have withdrawn from Al Mastumah, the largest regime base in Idlib, leaving it completely in the hands of opposition fighters,” Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said.
He said the capture of the base followed a huge blast inside and heavy clashes, though the cause of the explosion was not immediately clear.
Al-Qaeda affiliate Al Nusra Front, a key player in the Army of Conquest grouping that has seized much of Idlib in recent weeks, announced Al Mastumah’s capture online.