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Aleppo military base seized by Syrian rebels

Syrian rebels have seized a military base on the outskirts of Aleppo.

Syrian rebels captured a government military base on the outskirts of Aleppo on Monday, CNN reported.

The base, located outside Syria’s largest city, had about 200 Syrian troops and appeared to be under attack by rebels from three sides during the night. According to the Associated Press, the government has been struggling for a week to beat back the rebels’ assault.

“The battle lasted around nine hours,” said Fazad Abdel Nasr, a rebel commander working in the northern Aleppo suburbs. Nasr said six regime soldiers and four rebel fighters were killed.

According to local activist Mohammed Saeed, the rebels have ‘‘a new batch of weapons and ammunition,’’ but declined to say from where, the Associated Press reported. 

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The commander of the Salah Adeen Martyrs Brigade told a GlobalPost correspondent in Syria recently that he knows he’s outgunned and that many of his fighters will die in the days to come. But Abu Abdo Bakri hopes that if the opposition consolidates control over northern Syria with a victory in the battle for Aleppo, then they might get support from Turkey and NATO for a no-fly zone.

So far, however, NATO allies have signaled very clearly that help is not on the way.

Reuters reported today that the rebels believe that Aleppo could be won in a matter of weeks. 

“We always knew the regime’s grave would be Aleppo. Damascus is the capital, but here we have a fourth of the country’s population and the entire force of its economy. Bashar’s forces will be buried here,” said Mohammed, a young fighter said to Reuters. 

Since the rebel assault on Aleppo began a week ago, about 192 people have been killed, mostly civilians, according to the Britain-based activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Some 19,000 people have died since the uprising began, the group says.

According to CNN, Aleppo, Syria’s financial center, has seen a mass exodus as the violence in the city has mounted. About 200,000 people have fled the heavy weapon fire in the past two days, the UN’s under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs, Valerie Amos said on Sunday.  

Meanwhile, Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid Al-Moallem criticisized his Middle East neighbors during a joint news conference in Tehran, making a rare public criticism of the region’s powerhouses. 

‘‘Israel is the mastermind of all in this crisis,’’ Al-Moallem said, accusing Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey of “fighting in the same front’’ along with Israel, Time Magazine reported.