BEIRUT (TIP): ISIS militants have launched an attack overnight on a major military air base in eastern Syria in what looked to be a push to eliminate the last significant government outpost in the extremist-dominated region, activists said on December 4. The airfield just outside the city of Deir el-Zour is a key military facility for President Bashar Assad, giving his warplanes a hub from which to bomb ISIS-held cities and towns across much of eastern Syria. For the ISIS group, capturing the airport would eliminate the remaining pocket of resistance in the area and provide a major morale and propaganda boost after a string of setbacks in recent weeks. The assault against the air base began under the cover of darkness with a suicide car bombing against a Syrian military position on the airfield’s outskirts, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The Local Coordination Committees, an activist collective, also reported the fighting. Both groups said heavy clashes raged amid government shelling on the villages surrounding the airfield.