Rebels Seize Most of Army Base in North Syriaإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Syrian rebels took control of most of a strategic army base in northern Syria after a fierce firefight with President Bashar Assad's forces on Wednesday, a monitoring group said.
The military complex, known as Base 80, is tasked with securing the nearby Aleppo international airport as well as the Nayrab military airport.
Rebels launched a coordinated assault on both airports on Tuesday, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which added that most of Base 80 "has come under insurgent control".
Dozens of fighters and troops have been killed in the fighting, the Britain-based Observatory said.
Activists have said Aleppo's insurgents shifted their focus from targets in the provincial capital to air bases because they are a source of ammunition and weaponry, and to put out of action warplanes used to bomb rebel bastions.
In Aleppo city itself, meanwhile, electricity or water supplies were down on Wednesday for a fourth day in a row, said the anti-regime Aleppo Media Center, warning of a "humanitarian disaster" in what was once Syria's commercial hub.
Commenting on the rebels' advance in Aleppo province, Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said the army may be giving up on parts of northern Syria in order to secure the center.
"The army is barely resisting the rebels' advance on bases in the north. Meanwhile, it is resisting with ferocity the insurgents in Daraya (southwest of Damascus) and Homs (central Syria)," Abdel Rahman told Agence France Presse.
"The regime understands it cannot survive a transition without securing some land to bargain with," he added.
Despite the advances, regime warplanes carried out several air raids on rebel areas in Aleppo province on Wednesday while army tanks shelled the east Damascus district of Jobar, the Observatory said.
At least eight civilians were killed in Jobar, it said.
Insurgents have secured enclaves in the eastern and southern suburbs of Damascus, and the army is trying hard to push them out, the watchdog said.
On the eastern and western edges of the central city of Homs, rebels clashed with troops on two main highways, a rebel commander said.
Arraba Idriss told AFP via Skype that the insurgents are trying to "ease the pressure on people trapped in districts that have been besieged and bombarded" for some eight months by the army.
At least 121 people were killed in violence across Syria on Wednesday, half of them civilians, the Observatory said.