A few years ago, I wrote about the heroic defense of an airbase in Syria. According to the militants, the base was initially defended by a special forces battalion, only about 300 people (according to our data, several officers were trained in Russia and Belarus).
In the photo: defenders of the air base, soldiers and officers of the second regiment of the Syrian special forces.
For three years now, Syrian special forces have been defending the base, fighting in complete encirclement.
The first attempt to take the base was made by the Syrian Free Army on April 30, 2013. They managed to break through the outer perimeter of the base, but the attack was repulsed. This was the first assault on an air force base during the Syrian war.
The base's five-kilometer perimeter was reinforced, but it seemed almost impossible to defend it - without dominating structures and heights.
All villages in the area were demolished by the rebels.
13 fortified hangars were turned into strong points of defense. They were equipped with heavy machine guns and ATGMs.
The presence of these fortified shelters played a major role in the base's survival.
Several tanks and armored personnel carriers played their part, playing the role of a rapid reaction force, and being transferred to critical points during attacks.
During the fighting, the defenders of the base managed to recapture several tanks from Jabhat al-Nusra and the tribes who fled from Deir ez-Zur from the Islamic State and took part in the siege.
Fully aware of the imminent fall of the base and showing unusual tactical prudence for him, the Air Force command withdrew from the base several MiG-21 and MiG-23, which were in working order to the Hama Air Force base.
The impressive trophies shown by the rebels are the remains of 19 aircraft, which in reality stopped flying 10-15 years ago.
Abu ad-Duhur was completely cut off from the main forces of the Syrian army, the supply was carried out by air on the An-26 and Mi-8. During the siege of the base, several helicopters were shot down, one An-26 and two MiG-21s.
According to the stories of the militants themselves, first, aircraft flew up to the base and attacked the adjacent potentially dangerous and identified clusters of militants near the base, and then helicopters approached and went to land.
In recent weeks, the supply of the base has to be carried out by dropping supplies by parachute. The base is under fire from snipers and 23-mm cannons. Collecting the goods that have landed is extremely difficult. The most difficult for the wounded: the militants smashed buildings from heavy weapons, fires raged, and the victims cannot be evacuated.
The assault on Abu ad-Duhur coincided with a giant dust storm that hit the Middle East.
But a handful of soldiers persist in defiance of all calculations. The defenders retreated within the perimeter, but did not run or lay down their arms. Desperate, they called forth their artillery fire directly at themselves!
At that moment, the fate of the base and the entire 3-year defense was being decided. Every person capable of holding a weapon was counted.
Due to the sandstorm, the Syrian Air Force could not fly in support of the defenders of the base.
Thanks to direct military assistance from the United States, terrorists received Konkurs anti-tank missile systems capable of hitting targets with guided missiles from a distance of up to 4 kilometers.
From an almost unpunished distance, the militants confidently knocked out the last tanks of the defenders and destroyed the defenses in the buildings. The shelling went on day and night.
Large fires broke out at the base, fuel and ammunition depots exploded. The situation became desperate, but the defenders still held on.
In any case, the extreme exhaustion of the defenders (after all, the continuous attacks of the militants lasted three days), continuous shelling and the numerical superiority of the attackers predetermined the fate of the base, the ratio of forces was 1 to 80.
Most of the soldiers defending the base were killed.
The survivors and wounded, who could move, let the militants 30 meters, threw grenades and went to break through the lines of the attackers.
The base commander, General Insan al-Zuhuri, led the breakthrough of the survivors and died in a fierce hand-to-hand combat.
A small group (up to 40 people) managed to break through into the territory controlled by the Syrian army.
P. S. I remember how in the late 80s of the last century we took "final exams" from Syrian special forces officers at a training ground in Crimea.
On the last day, we set the tables, because tomorrow the Syrians were sailing home from Sevastopol. And so, after the third, on a smoke break, a Syrian named Farid told me: "You Russians are amazing people, you don't care much, but you are probably the only people in the world who don't care about death!"
Only in the Russian language there is such a concept as "to fight to the death."
As they say, with whom you lead, from that you will gain.
So the Syrians who studied with us fought to the death!
Airbase defenders. Pictures were taken on the territory of the base in 2013