U.S. backed Syrian rebel forces take over airport near IS held border town with Iraq: monitor

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 29, 2016 12:57 AM

AMMAN (Reuters) - U.S.-backed Syrian rebel fighters helped by Western-backed special forces seized a military airport held by Islamic State militants close to their strategic stronghold of Al-Bukamal near the Iraqi border, a monitor said on Wednesday.

The U.K.-based Observatory for Human Rights said the operation, which involved foreign paratroopers landing by helicopters, took place at dawn. Heavy clashes were underway, with militants dug in at the Hamadan airport, 5 km (3 miles) northwest of Al-Bukamal.

The U.S.-backed New Syria Army announced on Tuesday it had begun an attack to take over the town on the Euphrates River, a move that would hamper the militants' ability to move between the Iraqi and Syrian territories of their self-declared caliphate.

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(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Paul Tait)