Rebels seize army base as leader visits north Syria

By REUTERS
March 3, 2013 18:55

 
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AMMAN - Opposition leader Moaz Alkhatib visited rebel-held towns in north Syria for the first time on Sunday as rebel fighters seized an army outpost from President Bashar al-Assad's forces outside the contested northern city of Aleppo, activists said.

The capture of the police academy at Khan al-Asal, used by Assad's forces as an artillery base to support troops still holding around 40 percent of the northern city, came after days of fighting in which rebels killed 150 soldiers, while sustaining heavy casualties, they said.

In an attempt to consolidate those gains on the ground and strengthen links between Assad's military and civilian foes, Alkhatib crossed into northern Syria from neighbouring Turkey and toured the towns of Jarablus and Minbij.

Earlier he attended a meeting of 220 rebel commanders and opposition campaigners in the Turkish city of Gaziantep to elect an administration for Aleppo province, home to 6 million people.

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