Abu al-Duhur (Arabic: أبو الظهور; Abu al-Ẓuhur, also spelled Abu al-Thuhur) is a town in northwestern Syria on the edge of the Syrian Desert, administratively part of the Idlib Governorate, located about 45 kilometers southeast of Aleppo. Nearby localities include Tell Sultan and Tell Kalbah to the northwest. According to the Syria Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), Abu al-Duhur had a population of 10,694 in the 2004 census. It is the center of a nahiyah ("subdistrict") containing 26 localities with a combined population of 38,869 in 2004.
Abu al-Duhur is the site of military airfield. During the ongoing Syrian civil war which started in 2011, rebels from the Free Syrian Army besieged the base in September 2012. Supplies for the troops are airdropped by helicopters that fly in from air bases in Hama. The rebels have also upped their attacks on the airport. They claimed that as a result of their employment of anti-aircraft weaponry, they have rendered flights from the base inoperable. In 2013, al-Khashir checkpoint (north east of the airport) was destroyed and burned by rebels. However, the army kept control of the village.
In early morning of 27 November 2014, heavily armed army units moved from Abu Duhur airport under cover of artillery and air force and began combing operations at the airport perimeter from the northern side until they reached the village of Haymat ad Dayir 6 km north of the airport. The village was stormed by surprise and in hours the troops took control of the village and combed and destroyed the nests of insurgents. Then the troops continued to progress to Mustarihah village 10 km north of the airport. The village was also stormed and violent clashes broke during which the Air Force intervened and destroyed a number of militants' trucks. And after combing Mustarihah village at the time of sunset troops returned to airport and the results were successful where they killed and wounded dozens of rebels and destroyed their vehicles and their hideouts and captured a number of them also were confiscated light weapons and ammunition in addition to the herd of sheep was in one of the dens of rebels in the vicinity of Haymat ad Dayir. On the other hand, there were some light and medium injuries among the troops. These events were reported by “Assad Idlib News Network” which is a source based in the governorate & specializes in military events in the governorate. The events were also confirmed by alarabiya and prominent international journalist and expert Elijah J. Magnier He further explains that “Army will not spread in an exposed area when the airport represents a better shelter and defense line”.
After the capture of the Wadi Deif and Hamadiyah bases, the rebels turned their attention to the Abu al-Duhur airbase. They gathered about 1,000 fighters around the airport that is defended by about 700 soldiers. On January 15, 2015, the rebels launched an offensive on the village of Tal Salmo that was geared at opening a new front south of the Abu al-Duhur Military Airbase. the rebels attacked 2 points controlled by the army’s 11th Tank Division and the National Defense Forces (NDF) at Tal Salmo. the assault on the 2 axes was foiled by the loyalist forces after almost 2 days of non-stop fighting with the militant groups. The following day, the rebels pounded the village of Tal Salmo with a barrage of mortar shells in order to weaken the army fortifications. After that, the militants stormed the army defenses at Tal Salmo, attempting to breach the latter’s frontlines from the western perimeter of the village. The rebels were unsuccessful in their infiltration attempt, as the army fought off the assault, resulting in their complete control of the checkpoints adjacent to the village. 10 days later, it was reported that the rebels were in control of Tal Salmo. The village has strategic importance because it is close to the main gate of the airport and because it contains water wells that the troops in the airport consume via canalization.
On 18 January 2015, an Antonov An-26 operated by the Syrian Air Force crashed near al-Khashir village while attempting to land, There were 35 or 37 people on board, probably all Syrian soldiers. Syrian media said that the crash was due to heavy fog but rebel group Al-Nusra Front said they had shot it down.
On January 23, 2015, the rebels managed to control al-Hamidiyeh village on the East side of the Abu al-Duhur airbase. However they pulled out to the outskirt later. On January 25, 2015, an Al Jazeera journalist from inside the village reported that the rebels were in control of al-Hamidiyeh.
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- Elijah J. Magnier (January 23, 2015). "JAN control al-Hamidiyeh village". Elijah J. Magnier. Retrieved January 23, 2015.