Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) jihadists captured the key Brigade 93 Syrian army base in Raqa province overnight, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Friday.
“The ISIS took Brigade 93 after fierce fighting and a triple suicide bomb attack,” Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said, adding that government forces now hold just one position in the province at Tabqa airport.
Some troops had already pulled out of Brigade 93 in July after IS captured Division 17, another base in the region where at least 85 people were killed in fighting or summarily executed shortly afterwards, the Britain-based Observatory said.
It said that in the fighting for Brigade 93, “36 soldiers were killed, some of whom were beheaded, while others died in the fighting or in the initial triple suicide bombing” that launched the attack.
At least 15 jihadists were killed, including the three suicide bombers who blew themselves up at the entrance to the base at the start of the attack on Wednesday night.
“Assad had pledged to retake Raqa. Not only has he failed to do so, he has lost his bases,” Abdel Rahman said.