Activist: Syrian rebels seize key army base

Associated Press
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FILE - This Thursday, April 25, 2013 file photo citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows members of the free Syrian Army preparing their weapons, in the neighborhood of al-Amerieh in Aleppo, Syria. Rebels are pressing for a decision from the West on arming their forces to even their odds now that Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas are fighting alongside the regime. They are stepping up outreach to the West, warning that inaction will let al-Qaida-linked militants take the forefront in the rebellion or hand victory to Iran and Hezbollah. (AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center AMC, File)

BEIRUT (AP) — Activists say Syrian rebels have gained control of a key military base in the central Hama province after intense clashes with regime forces.

The base is on the northern edge of the town of Morek, which straddles the country's strategic north-south highway leading to the province of Aleppo.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the rebels seized the base after intense clashes with regime forces on Thursday.

The Observatory says the rebels killed six government troops and seized weapons and ammunition. A video posted on Hama activists' Facebook page shows flames rising from the burning compound and the bodies of some of the killed fighters.

President Bashar Assad's forces are waging an offensive to drive rebels out of the central provinces of Hama and Homs, and the northern Aleppo province.