Intense clashes between Syrian rebels and Bashar Assad loyalists near Damascus International Airport forced its closure on Thursday, leaving Assad’s forces weaker than ever.
The fighting—some of the worst since the Syrian civil war began almost two years ago—saw the rebels momentarily taking control of the main road connecting Damascus with the main airport in clashes that reached within 1.2 miles of the airport itself. The airport was then closed, affecting flights by Emirates airline and EgyptAir. These airlines are some of the few that are still operating in Syria. Most other airlines have already suspended services to Syria over the 20 months of the war.