IS moves to take Keweyris airport

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The Islamic State tried for the second day in a row Wednesday to storm the regime-controlled Keweyris Military Airport, a launching site for barrel bomb attacks across the province, in the eastern Aleppo countryside. Should IS take the airport, “it would open up a path for them to capture the Defense Factories in a-Safirah,” Hussein al-Khatab, head of the pro-opposition a-Safirah News Center, told Syria Direct Wednesday. The Defense Factories' barracks is a barrel bomb production site and a launching pad for regime air raids in Aleppo, Idlib, and Hama provinces. As of late Tuesday night, IS fighters had taken control of the officers' quarters and flight training center in the Keweyris airport, according to pro-IS Twitter accounts. Pro-regime TS news reported Tuesday that Syrian army soldiers had destroyed two car bombs before they reached the airport. In the ensuing clashes, “no breach of the airport's wall” occurred. Keweyris airport has been encircled by rebel forces since 2012—first by Ahrar a-Sham, then the Islamic State when the latter took control of the area.