AMMAN - Syrian rebels said on Monday they had seized the headquarters of an army battalion near the southern gate of Damascus, the nearest military base to the capital reported to have fallen to opposition fighters.

Two units of the Islamist rebel groups Ansar al-Islam and Jund Allah Brigades said in a statement that they had overrun the base of the Air Defense Battalion near Hajar al-Aswad after four days of fighting.

Video footage showed rebels amid destroyed anti-aircraft guns and one commander saying on a walkie-talkie: "We have completely seized the compound."

Independent verification of the report was not possible.

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