Syrian Rebels Say They Seize Southern Air Base, State Denies

June 11, 2015 Updated: June 11, 2015
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BEIRUT— A rebel spokesman and an activist say Syrian opposition fighters have captured a major southern air base, a claim denied by state TV.

Maj. Issam al-Rayyes, a spokesman for the Southern Front alliance, says the Thaala air base in Sweida province was captured by rebels Thursday, two days after opposition fighters seized another key military base in southern Syria.

Ahmad al-Masalmeh, an opposition activist in southern Syria, says troops withdrew from Thaala to other parts of Sweida province.

State TV denied the claims, saying troops have repelled three attacks on Thaala.

President Bashar Assad’s forces have suffered a string of defeats in recent months at the hands of rebels, a local al-Qaida affiliate and the Islamic State group.