Syria rebels seize checkpoint near Jordan border

Last Updated: Friday, April 5, 2013 - 23:47

Beirut: Syrian rebels seized a government checkpoint on a key highway from Damascus to the border with Jordan on Friday, a watchdog said, as fighting intensified on the outskirts of the capital.

"Rebel fighters took control of the Umm al-Mayathin military checkpoint... in Daraa province in clashes with regime forces," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

"Two fighters were killed and others wounded," the group added, saying there was no immediate word on any army casualties.

The checkpoint lies close to the border with Jordan, along the main highway from Damascus. Rebels already control the town of Khirbet Ghazaleh, further north towards the capital.

Meanwhile, fierce fighting raged between troops and rebels in Daraya, southwest of the capital, with the Observatory also reporting shelling by the army of neighbouring Moadamiyet al-Sham.

The fighting in Daraya is part of a campaign by government forces to recapture areas on the outskirts of Damascus that rebels have been using as launchpads for attacks on the capital.

Inside the city, shelling of the northern Barzeh neighbourhood killed at least seven people, including two children and three women, the Observatory said.

In Aleppo, fighting continued for the strategic Sheikh Maqsud neighbourhood, where high ground provides a vantage point over much of the northern city.

Rebel forces also fired on both Aleppo International Airport and Neirab military airbase, the Observatory said.

Rebels have laid siege to both since February, in a bid to disrupt the movement of military aircraft.

Nationwide, violence killed at least 36 people on Friday, said the Observatory, which relies on a network of activists and doctors inside Syria.


First Published: Friday, April 5, 2013 - 23:47
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