Take any official pronouncements out of Syria, or better yet don’t.
Syrian soldiers fought their way into an airbase in northern Syria on Tuesday, state television said, breaking a nearly two-year siege by Islamic State insurgents at the facility and freeing military personnel holed up inside.
A military source close to the government said the army was working to secure the Kweires airbase in Aleppo province, where soldiers and officers have been under attack since 2013.
State television broadcast live footage from the airbase of an emotional, fatigue-clad reporter announcing the news, played victory songs and ran archive footage of military exercises.
“We, the heroes of Kweires, are now celebrating with our brothers this victory,” one of the freed soldiers told state TV, speaking by phone.
“We dedicate this victory to President Bashar al-Assad and we promise him we will continue fighting until all of Syria is liberated. We will not kneel to Daesh,” he said, using an Arabic name for Islamic State.
The military source said hundreds of soldiers were freed.
The last bit would be difficult to fake. And if government forces really have broken the Aleppo airbase siege, that’s a strong indicator that Vladimir Putin is making headway in his goal of keeping Assad in power.