Turkistan Islamic Party releases photos from captured Syrian regime airbase


Two fighters from the Turkistan Islamic Party stand on top of a MIG fighter jet. 

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.

[For more information on the TIP’s role in these offensives, see LWJ report, Turkistan Islamic Party had significant role in recent Idlib offensive, and Threat Matrix reports, Turkistan Islamic Party in Syria involved in new Idlib offensiveTurkistan Islamic Party in Syria conducted suicide bombings at Jisr al Shughur, and Turkistan Islamic Party in Syria takes part in battle for the Al Ghab plain.]

Photos released by the TIP:







Killed at Abu Duhour

Photos taken of al Qaeda-cleric Sheikh Abdullah al Muhaysini:



Caleb Weiss is an intern at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a contributor to The Long War Journal.

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  • Evan says:

    People like muhaysini want the world to believe that AQ aren’t terrorists, their freedom fighters…they’re only in Syria because they were invited there, by the poor down trodden people, to liberate them and free them from the tyranny of Assad…

    But that’s not even close to being true, as most of us who have been following these conflicts from the beginning remember.

    AQ co opted this revolution, they brought in foreign fighters from all over the globe, with no real stake whatsoever in this conflict, and they made it about them.
    They’ve done the same thing everywhere else that they operate, it’s their strategy for dealing with the Arab spring,
    To muddy the waters so much, create so many front groups and splinter organizations that stir up trouble and add to the chaos, that no western government can make enough sense of it to do anything meaningful. Not that they would if they could.

    The real loser here is the Syrian people, stuck between despots and madmen, having their country, culture, heritage and history stolen, looted, burned and raped right in front of them.

    • rtloder says:

      That’s right except Arab Spring was the invitation mainly to the Brotherhood now that’s over Zawahiri and Baghdadi got the jihadists from the Brotherhood. Qatar and Erdogan were then able to patch up their differences with Saudi and UAE , the point I’m making is always was regional international dispute and still is.

    • DD says:

      Thats how everyone deos it, covers their own interests in something else, as most of us who have been following these conflicts from the beginning remember. The world is more and more united that the islamic state is the 1 enemy, mostly thanks to some brutal murders, Assad kills many more with his plains attacking civilians. And dont spitt the crap that their “evil” is a reason to get involved, its never been before, there are still brutal regimes in the world and nobody wants to bomb them, so can people just stop pretend that they are the good guys, this is just what people read about not everything thats going on.
      Dont misstake this for suport of IS or AQ or anybody, im sorry for their people and knows that our people cant think.
      Feel free to go hard on this one, you dont have to worry that il come back and crush your arguments. I move on and dont look back. 🙂

  • Dennis says:

    Evan, you are so right. The losers are always those who had no stake here except to live peaceably. I see the masses of people fleeing, but they almost always consist of men, mostly of fighting age. That alone would scare a country to seal its borders asap.

    • Murph says:

      The amount of fighting aged men I see fleeing is shameful. They should be separated from the women and children and forced into military camps in whichever country they are in. Give them some basic training, loaded them up and ship them back. Europe shouldn’t be forced to absorb this in flux of cowards. If I lived in one of these countries ie Germany, I’d protect my bourder vigorously!

      • xx says:

        Fight for what, for who, with what? A population of fighting age men doesn’t equal an coherent trained force, and staying with and looking out for your family is a valid choice. One you don’t have any right to second guess with your schemes to treat them as cattle. Maybe if you lived Germany you could defend it’s “bourder” armed with a spell checker.

  • Paddy Singh says:

    I can’t believe that he US, dumb as it is did not bomb nd destroy the planes on the abandoned base. Perhaps they wanted the Isis to use them?

  • An Unhappy Camper says:

    It looks like this base hadn’t been used in a while. The taxi ways are overgrown with weeds and the planes look like many have not been flown for a while, my guess is lack of spare parts. It puzzles me why Assad would hold on a Air Base of little of any practical use. It answers the question why Putin is sending in air assets, you wonder what shape the rest of the Syrian Air Force is in.

    • mike merlo says:

      “…you wonder what shape the rest of the Syrian Air Force is in.” Russian pilots have been flying sorties for Assad for quite some time as well as providing ground crews & air traffic control. Iran is in charge of what takes place on the ground. Now we know what Soleimani was meeting in Moscow for not so long ago. If the Turks are serious about carving out their little enclave in Syria they best get busy soon or else.


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