Syria crisis : Rebels seize northern air base, Assad forces under pressure

Damascus, Feb 14 (TruthDive): Syrian rebels have captured a military air base and captured war planes, near the northern city of Aleppo on Tuesday. They have also stormed another air base that protects the international airport of the city, their second straight day of major strategic conquests, said the activists.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the rebels have captured a military airport at Al-Jarrah in the province of Aleppo, taking hold of a fleet of war planes including MiG fighters for the first time.

This capturing comes a day after rebels in the north-east attacked Syria’s biggest hydro-electric dam, an iconic industrial symbol of the four-decade rule of President Bashar Assad’s family, giving a deliberate blow to the government.

Rami Abdul-Rahman, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director, said that after days of periodic clashes in the Jarrah airfield in Aleppo province, rebels launched a major assault on the base on Monday. By Tuesday, they had overrun it. He said numerous regime troops were either wounded or killed in the fighting, while others escaped as the rebels advanced. There was no word on opposition casualties.

For about a week, the rebels have been trying to slowly battle their way into the capital from neighbourhoods and towns, and have reached to within a mile of the heart of the city.

The verification of events on the ground is difficult as the Syrian authorities have banned most of the independent media from the country.

In New York, the chief of U.N. human rights, Navi Pillay said as the violence continues on the ground in Syria, the number of people killed in Syria is perhaps now approaching 70,000. Her remarks came after six weeks she said Syria’s death toll had exceeded 60,000, a figure that at the time she called “truly shocking.”

Navi Pillay told that there have probably been almost 10,000 new deaths in recent weeks.

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