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Turkistan Islamic Party releases photos from captured Syrian regime airbase

The Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), an al Qaeda-affiliated Uighur jihadist group that operates in Central and South Asia and in Syria, has released several photographs from the Abu Duhour airbase in the northwestern province of Idlib. The airbase had long been under siege before the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda's official branch in the country, and its allies announced that the facility had been captured. The jihadist group Jund al Aqsa, an al Qaeda front in Syria, also took part in the operation.

Al Nusrah had previously posted a series of photos from Abu Duhour on its official Twitter feeds showing captured regime soldiers, MIGs, and helicopters, and several scenes from the actual battle.

The images from TIP also show captured soldiers, aircraft, and other vehicles from the base. At least two photos were published of Abdullah al Muhaysini, a Saudi al Qaeda cleric who is very popular among jihadist groups in Syria. Muhaysini is also known to run at least one training camp for children in Idlib. A final photo shows a fighter who was killed while overrunning the base.

The TIP has been involved in almost all of the major operations that have taken place in Idlib this year. The jihadist group assisted in the capture of the city of Jisr al Shughur, where it launched at least two suicide bombings in support of the operation. It also helped overrun several important towns and villages in the strategic Al Ghab plain with Jund al Aqsa and two Uzbek groups, Katibat al Tawhid wal Jihad, an al Qaeda affiliate, and the Imam Bukhari Jamaat, which has pledged allegiance to Mullah Akhtar Mansour of the Taliban.

[Source: By Caleb Weiss, Threat Matrix, The Long War Journal, NJ, 10Sep15]

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