BEIRUT - Syrian rebels stormed an army barracks in the northwestern province of Latakia overnight on Wednesday and killed at least 20 troops loyal to President Bashar Assad, a group which monitors violence in Syria said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is based in Britain but has a network of contacts in Syria including rebels, activists and state security members, said rebels had taken some soldiers prisoner, including a colonel, and looted machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

"From late last night until 5 o'clock this morning, rebels attacked a regular army barracks complex consisting of three buildings, two of which collapsed," said Rami Abdelrahman, head of the Observatory.

The past few weeks have seen a surge in rebel attacks on tanks and army checkpoints and activists say in some areas the Free Syrian Army rebels have been able to hold territory.