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DAMASCUS, SYRIA (8:50 P.M.) – For the first time since 2012, a Syrian cargo plane took off from the airfield at Kuweiris Airbase and returned safely shortly after.

Syrian journalist Shadi Hulweh joined the Syrian pilots on their eastern Aleppo trip which was featured live on Syrian state television as a symbolic victory on Saturday evening.

Chris Tomson | Al-Masdar News
Chris Tomson | Al-Masdar News
Chris Tomson | Al-Masdar News
Chris Tomson | Al-Masdar News

Kuweiris Airbase was completely besieged from 2012 onwards but the siege was remarkably lifted in October 2015 following a government offensive which saved the lives of 314 beleaguered Syrian Arab Army (SAA) soldiers that had withstood a daily jihadist onslaught on the isolated airport.

Kuweiris Airbase is a strategic asset for the SAA as it represents a perfect launching pad to target ISIS forces in Raqqa and hostile Turkish-backed Euphrates Shield insurgents.

In related news, rebel forces shelled Aleppo International Airport with GRAD missiles once again today, setting it out of function after it was briefly reopened in December.

Rebels shelled International Airport with GRAD rockets again..

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