In this image taken from video obtained from the Ugarit News, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, a Israeli airstrikes hit Damascus, Syria, early Sunday, May 5, 2013. Israeli warplanes struck areas in and around the Syrian capital Sunday, setting off a series of explosions as they targeted a shipment of highly accurate, Iranian-made guided missiles believed to be on their way to Lebanon's Hezbollah militant group, officials and activists said. The attack, the second in three days, signaled a sharp escalation of Israel's involvement in Syria's bloody civil war. Syria's state media reported that Israeli missiles struck a military and scientific research center near the Syrian capital and caused casualties. (AP Photo/Ugarit News via AP video)
(The Associated Press)
BEIRUT – Activist groups say rebels have occupied parts of a military air base in northern Syria after days of fighting.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said rebels moved deep inside Mannagh air base, near the border with Turkey, while under fire from government warplanes.
The Aleppo Media Center says rebels captured a tank unit Sunday inside the base. It added that the commander of the base was killed.
Rebels have been trying to capture Mannagh air base for months but were only able to take small parts of it. The sprawling base has been under siege since last year.
The Observatory also reported heavy fighting inside the contested town of Qusair near the Lebanese border. Troops captured several villages and towns surrounding Qusair in the past month.