News / Middle East

    Syrian Rebels Seize Major Dam in North

    Members of the Free Syrian Army gather at a house in the northern Syrian town of Ras al-Ain, as seen from the Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar, Sanliurfa province, November 26, 2012. Members of the Free Syrian Army gather at a house in the northern Syrian town of Ras al-Ain, as seen from the Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar, Sanliurfa province, November 26, 2012.
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    Members of the Free Syrian Army gather at a house in the northern Syrian town of Ras al-Ain, as seen from the Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar, Sanliurfa province, November 26, 2012.
    Members of the Free Syrian Army gather at a house in the northern Syrian town of Ras al-Ain, as seen from the Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar, Sanliurfa province, November 26, 2012.
    VOA News
    Activists say Syrian rebels have seized control of a hydroelectric dam on the Euphrates River in northern Syria after days of heavy clashes, the latest in a string of recent advances for opposition fighters.

    A resident of the nearby town of Manbij confirmed Monday's report, adding that employees of the six-turbine Tishrin Dam were continuing operations.

    The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the dam's capture is strategically important because it "means the army basically has only one road left" to the flashpoint city of Aleppo.

    In this image taken from video obtained from the Ugarit News, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrian rebels capture a helicopter air base near the capital Damascus after fierce fighting in Syria, on Sunday, Nov.In this image taken from video obtained from the Ugarit News, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrian rebels capture a helicopter air base near the capital Damascus after fierce fighting in Syria, on Sunday, Nov.
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    In this image taken from video obtained from the Ugarit News, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrian rebels capture a helicopter air base near the capital Damascus after fierce fighting in Syria, on Sunday, Nov.
    In this image taken from video obtained from the Ugarit News, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrian rebels capture a helicopter air base near the capital Damascus after fierce fighting in Syria, on Sunday, Nov.
    In the past week, rebels have seized five important military facilities throughout Syria, capturing sizable quantities of weaponry, isolating government positions and freeing opposition fighters.

    Also Monday, Syrian government warplanes attacked a rebel command center near the Turkish border in the northwest. Turkey's state-run Anadolu agency said the airstrikes in the town of Atmeh killed and wounded several people. The agency said some of the wounded were brought to Turkey for treatment.

    Syrian rebels and pro-government Kurdish gunmen struck a truce to end days of fighting in the northern town of Ras al-Ayn that opposition forces entered earlier this month.

    The Observatory and Kurdish activist Mustafa Osso said the rival sides agreed to form a local council that will run daily life in Ras al-Ayn. Thousands of people who fled the town, which has a mixed population including Arabs, Kurds, Chechens and Christians, have started returning home.

    Meanwhile, activists reported that a Syrian government jet dropped two cluster bombs on a rebel-held village near Damascus, killing 10 children. 

    Video footage of the bodies of several children were posted on the Internet. But there is no independent confirmation of its contents.

    The Syrian army has denied a Human Rights Watch report issued in October that government forces have used cluster bombs, saying it did not possess such weapons.  Cluster bombs are banned under a 2010 U.N. treaty, though Syria, like Israel, Russia and the United States, has not signed the pact.

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