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Rebels seize air defense base in southern Syria

LAST UPDATED: 5:02 a.m. HST, Mar 23, 2013

BEIRUT » Activists say Syrian rebels have seized control of a major air defense base in a strategic region of southern Syria.

A statement posted torday on militant websites by the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, a rebel group active in southern Syria, says several rebel groups stormed and liberated the 38th division air defense base after besieging it for 16 days.

The rebels also claim they killed the base commander.

The base lies in the southern Daraa province in a village near the strategic highway linking Damascus to neighboring Jordan.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies of a network of activists on the ground, has confirmed the report. It says the fighters included members of the al-Qaida affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra group.

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