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Syrian rebels take control of airport, activists say

By The Associated Press

This article was published November 17, 2012 at 12:20 p.m.

french-president-francois-hollande-second-from-left-head-of-the-new-syrian-national-coalition-for-opposition-and-revolutionary-forces-mouaz-al-khatib-second-from-right-syrian-opposition-member-suheir-atassi-left-and-french-foreign-minister-laurent-fabius-right-pose-for-photos-prior-to-a-meeting-at-the-elysee-palace-in-paris-saturday-nov-17-2012-france-has-taken-a-leading-role-among-western-countries-in-supporting-syrias-rebels-on-tuesday-it-became-the-first-western-nation-to-formally-recognize-syrias-newly-formed-opposition-coalition-as-the-sole-legitimate-representative-of-the-syrian-people

French President Francois Hollande, second from left, head of the new Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces Mouaz al-Khatib, second from right, Syrian opposition member Suheir Atassi, left, and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, right, pose for photos, prior to a meeting, at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012. France has taken a leading role among Western countries in supporting Syria's rebels. On Tuesday, it became the first Western nation to formally recognize Syria's newly formed opposition coalition as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

INTERACTIVE

Uprising in Syria

— Activists said Syrian rebels have taken control of an airport in the country’s east along the border with Iraq after days of heavy fighting with the forces of President Bashar Assad.

Rami Abdul-Rahman, the chief of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said opposition fighters overran the Hamdan airport in the oil-rich province of Deir el-Zour on Saturday. The airport, near the border town of al-Boukamal, has been turned into a military base during Syria’s 20 months of conflict that has left over 36,000 people dead.

Rebels had been making advances in al-Boukamal town for weeks. On Thursday, they seized control of the military security building and a military checkpoint at the edge of the border town.

At least four rebels were killed in the ongoing battle, Abdul-Rahman said.

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