Syrian army commander killed in Raqqa clashes

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Soldiers of the Syrian regime's army checking location in Hasakah countryside. File photo

ARA News

DAMASCUS – Head of the Syrian army’s 10th Division was reported dead in clashes with Islamic State’s (ISIS) fighters in the northeastern Raqqa province, activists and military sources reported on Thursday. 

Major General Hassan Saadoun was killed during clashes with ISIS near the Tabqa town of Raqqa province. 

A Syrian army officer confirmed the death of Gen. Saadoun. “The Major General of the 10th Division was martyred in clashes with Daesh [ISIS] terrorists,” he told ARA News, speaking on condition of anonymity. 

“However, the operation for Tabqa airbase will continue. Our forces are determined to do whatever it takes in order to regain the Syrian land from those terrorists,” the officer said, without giving further details.

Local media activists reported that Gen. Saadoun was killed three days ago, but the Assad regime has not issued any statement regarding his death.

“This was a new blow to the Assad regime. Apparently retaking Tabqa airbase would require a lot of effort by the regime forces, since ISIS has deployed hundreds of militants to keep the airbase,” media activist Muhammad Alwan told ARA News in Raqqa.

Noteworthy, the Syrian regime troops had no presence in Raqqa province since summer 2014, when ISIS took over the air base of Tabqa and executed a number of army soldiers. 

“The Tabqa airbase is a main target in our military campaign in Raqqa,” Syrian army official Haider Hammoud told ARA News. He added that the Russian air force has played a major role in the army’s progress in the western countryside of Raqqa.

Reporting by: Laila Majdalawi 

Source: ARA News

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