BEIRUT (AFP) – Syrian troops have repelled an attack by extremists from the Islamic State group on a key military airport in the eastern Deir Ezzor province, a monitoring group said on Sunday.
“Troops and pro-regime militia stopped the attack that Islamic State launched on the Deir Ezzor military airport,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, adding that both sides suffered heavy losses in the fighting.
The extremists had withdrawn to the edges of the base, a day after managing to seize a southeastern part of the complex, it said.
The Observatory said more than 100 extremists had been killed in fighting for the base since Wednesday, when they launched an operation to try to take the airport.
Pro-regime forces also suffered heavy casualties, with some 59 troops killed, it said.
State news agency SANA said Syrian army units had “repelled an attempt” by IS fighters to attack positions at the base, but provided no further details.
The Deir Ezzor air base is a key regime outpost from which warplanes and helicopters mount raids on extremist positions in several areas of the war-wracked country.
IS fighters control most of Deir Ezzor province, but half of its capital remains in government hands.