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Rebels capture air base in northern Syria

By The Associated Press

This article was published February 12, 2013 at 7:52 a.m.

— Rebels captured a military air base in northern Syria on Tuesday, their second major strategic victory in as many days, activists said.

The assault on the Jarrah airfield in Aleppo province comes a day after opposition fighters seized the nation’s largest dam, an iconic industrial symbol of the four-decade rule of President Bashar Assad’s family. The rebels have had their biggest success in Syria’s civil war in the northeast, and the twin victories appeared to indicate they were solidifying their control of large swaths of the country’s once heavily-contested north.

The director of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdul-Rahman, said that after days of sporadic clashes around the Jarrah airfield, rebels launched a major assault on the base Monday and had overrun the facility by Tuesday morning.

He said several regime troops in the area were killed or wounded in the fighting, while others fled as the rebels advanced. There was no word on opposition casualties.

The airfield, which is located near the Furat dam captured Monday, housed fighter jets that have been carrying out airstrikes on rebel held-areas around the country.

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