DAMASCUS, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian troops evacuated their positions at the al-Tabaqa airbase in northern province of al- Raqqa on Sunday after intense battles with the Islamic State (IS) militants, who have succeeded in capturing the facility, state-run media said.
The army units responsible for protecting the al-Tabaqa airbase have "successfully regrouped after evacuating the airbase and they are still striking the positions of the armed terrorists in that area, dealing them big blows," the state news agency SANA reported.
Earlier on Sunday, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the IS fighters succeeded to seize control of the al- Tabaka airbase, adding that all of the jet fighters, airplanes and officers were evacuated from the facility to the military airport of the eastern province of Deir al-Zour.
This is the fourth time the IS attempt to storm that facility, which is the last standing stronghold for the Syrian troops in al- Raqqa, which has largely fallen to the IS fighters since a year ago.
Last week, the Syrian troops succeeded to fend off an attack by the IS on the facility, killing as many as 140 of the IS militants. However, the IS waged a fourth offensive on Sunday against that airbase.
The Islamic State, previously known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, has recently proclaimed to establish an " Islamic Caliphate" in parts of Syria and Iraq, threatening the political geography in the region.
The group, led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who is said to be commanding over 70,000 fighters, said their goal is to establish an Islamic state in Iraq and Syria instead of shunning aside expanding more into other Arab countries.
The UN Security Council has recently adopted a resolution to choke off the flow of fund and fighters to the militant group.