BEIRUT - Forces loyal to President Bashar Assad fought rebels in a small town 100 km (60 miles) north of Damascus on Thursday after video footage showed the opposition captured a huge weapons cache.
The looting of hundreds of weapons in the town of Mahin will aid rebels who are based there, halfway between the capital and Homs, two cities where the opposition has tried to take territory during the civil war.
State television said on Wednesday evening that the army was engaging with "terrorists" in Mahin, its usual description for the rebels. An anti-Assad monitoring group said that four rebel fighters had been killed on Thursday.
The group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said several brigades, including hard-line Islamists linked to al-Qaida, were taking part in the fighting.