AMMAN - Syrian rebels claimed to have captured an army artillery base in the eastern oil producing province of Deir al-Zor on Thursday, weakening President Bashar Assad's control of the strategic region bordering Iraq.
"After 20 days and 44 martyrs, the Mayadeen military base fell at 8.30 a.m. (0630 GMT). The whole countryside, from the Iraqi border and along the Euphrates to the city of Deir al-Zor, is now under rebel control," Abu Laila, an official in the Military Revolutionary Council in the province, told Reuters.
Another opposition source in contact with rebels confirmed that the base, 42 km (26 miles) south-east of the city of Deir al-Zor, had fallen "after a long siege".
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