Syrian rebels killed in Deir Ezzor airbase battle

At least 19 opposition fighters were killed in clashes to gain control of Deir Ezzor military air base

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Fierce clashes for the control of the Deir Ezzor military airbase in eastern Syria on Sunday claimed the lives of at least 19 opposition fighters, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

“The toll from the fighting is 19 martyrs,” said the Britain-based monitor which relies on a network of activists and medics on the ground for its reports.

Fighting between rebels and regime troops at the airbase has been ongoing for three days, the Observatory reported, adding that the regime troops are backed by National Defense Force auxiliaries.

Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said the rebels have succeeded in taking control of part of al-Jafra village, a few hundred meters from the airport, according to Agence-France Presse.

Residents of the village support the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, he said.

The Observatory also reported on Sunday that over 500 people have been killed in the Syrian regime’s two-week aerial offensive in rebel-held areas of Aleppo and its suburbs.

The airstrikes on Syria‘s second largest city have killed at least 517 people, including 151 children and 46 women, as of midnight Saturday.

Syrian government aircraft have pounded areas of the conflict-torn city since Dec. 15, frequently using barrels laden with explosives.

The northern city of Aleppo has been a major front in the country’s civil war since rebels launched an offensive there in mid-2012.

Since then, the city has been heavily damaged in clashes that have left it divided into rebel and government-controlled areas.

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