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Syrian activists say at least 24 rebels have died in battle for army base in country's north

  • FILE - In this Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 file photo, released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian army soldiers take their positions on a street in Sabina suburb which Syrian troops captured, south of Damascus, Syria. Despite global outrage over the use of chemical weapons, Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government is successfully exploiting divisions among the opposition, dwindling foreign help for the rebel cause and significant local support, all linked to the same thing: discomfort with the Islamic extremists who have become a major part of the rebellion. (AP Photo/SANA, File)

    FILE - In this Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 file photo, released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian army soldiers take their positions on a street in Sabina suburb which Syrian troops captured, south of Damascus, Syria. Despite global outrage over the use of chemical weapons, Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government is successfully exploiting divisions among the opposition, dwindling foreign help for the rebel cause and significant local support, all linked to the same thing: discomfort with the Islamic extremists who have become a major part of the rebellion. (AP Photo/SANA, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013 file photo, damages are seen in the town of Hejeira, which Syrian troops captured, in the countryside of Damascus, Syria. Despite global outrage over the use of chemical weapons, Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government is successfully exploiting divisions among the opposition, dwindling foreign help for the rebel cause and significant local support, all linked to the same thing: discomfort with the Islamic extremists who have become a major part of the rebellion. (AP Photo, File)

    FILE - In this Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013 file photo, damages are seen in the town of Hejeira, which Syrian troops captured, in the countryside of Damascus, Syria. Despite global outrage over the use of chemical weapons, Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government is successfully exploiting divisions among the opposition, dwindling foreign help for the rebel cause and significant local support, all linked to the same thing: discomfort with the Islamic extremists who have become a major part of the rebellion. (AP Photo, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013 file photo, people walk on a street between destroyed buildings in the town of Hejeira, which Syrian troops captured, in the countryside of Damascus, Syria. Despite global outrage over the use of chemical weapons, Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government is successfully exploiting divisions among the opposition, dwindling foreign help for the rebel cause and significant local support, all linked to the same thing: discomfort with the Islamic extremists who have become a major part of the rebellion. (AP Photo, File)

    FILE - In this Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013 file photo, people walk on a street between destroyed buildings in the town of Hejeira, which Syrian troops captured, in the countryside of Damascus, Syria. Despite global outrage over the use of chemical weapons, Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government is successfully exploiting divisions among the opposition, dwindling foreign help for the rebel cause and significant local support, all linked to the same thing: discomfort with the Islamic extremists who have become a major part of the rebellion. (AP Photo, File)  (The Associated Press)

Syrian activists say at least 24 rebels have died in battle for a military base near a northern opposition-held city but that government troops have managed to hold on to it.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad's government launched an assault on the base northeast of the city of Raqqa on Wednesday.

Rami Abdurrahman, the Observatory chief, says sporadic clashes are still underway Friday for the complex, known as Base 17, and that at least 24 fighters have been killed in battle.

In February, Raqqa was the first city to fall entirely under rebel control since Syria's crisis erupted in March 2011.

At least 120,000 people have been killed in the conflict so far.