Syria's civil war

Reuters
Free Syrian Army fighters react while launching a rocket towards Hama military airport that is controlled by forces loyal to Syria's President Assad, in the Hama countryside

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Syrian troops killed dozens of jihadi fighters, including a prominent media activist, in heavy clashes on Thursday around a sprawling northern air base that the Islamic State group is trying to seize, activists and state media said.

Islamic State fighters began a long-anticipated offensive on Wednesday to seize Tabqa air base in the northern province of Raqqa, the last position held by the Syrian government in a province that is a stronghold of the al-Qaida breakaway group. (AP)

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