The Latest: Syrian forces reach rebel-held air base

Published January 20, 2018

The Latest on developments related to Syria (all times local):

12:25 p.m.

Syrian state TV says government forces have reached the perimeter of a rebel-held air base deep inside what was once opposition territory in northwest Syria.

The station said on Saturday the government is attacking Abu Dhuhour base in Idlib province.

Pro-government forces reached the base earlier this month but pulled back 10 days ago to fight off a counter-offensive by rebels and al-Qaida-linked insurgents.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group says pro-government forces have surrounded Abu Dhuhour base from three sides.

Rebels took over the base in 2015 but have not been able to use it as an airfield because they do not have an air force.


10:05 a.m.

Turkey's military says it has retaliated against fire into Turkey from across the border in a Kurdish-controlled enclave in northwest Syria.

A brief military statement said Saturday the military responded to two days of "harassment" by attacking refugee and shelters in the enclave of Afrin allegedly belonging to a Syrian Kurdish militia group that Turkey considers to be a "terror" organization. The military did not provide details.

Turkey has vowed to launch a ground operation into Afrin to eradicate the threat from the group it says is an extension of Kurdish rebels fighting inside Turkey. It has been massing troops and tanks at its border.

Turkey's defense minister said Thursday the offensive into Afrin had "de facto" started, in reference to sporadic Turkish military shelling of the area.