Syria rebels seize strategic position in Daraa city

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Syrian rebels advancing from the Jordanian border seized a strategic army position in the southern city of Daraa on Friday as deadly fighting raged in the surrounding province, a watchdog said.

“They seized two buildings in the provincial capital that regime forces were using to keep the whole city under surveillance,” Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman said.

“This is the most important army position that the rebels have seized in Daraa” in 27 months of conflict, Abdel Rahman told AFP.

“The province could act as a key conduit for arms to stream in from Jordan to rebels in Damascus province,” he added.

The Los Angeles Times reported last week that U.S. special forces were providing training in Jordan to Syrian rebels, that included instruction in the use of anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons.

Officials in Amman denied the report, which came as Washington said it was to begin delivering arms to the rebels.

The rebel advance came as the army stepped up its shelling of rebel-held areas of Daraa province, killing at least four women and four children, the Observatory said.

It also came after five people were killed in a mainly Christian neighborhood in the historic heart of Damascus on Thursday, the Observatory said, revising an earlier toll.

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