Rebels fight regime troops for Syria's largest dam

Associated Press
In this Friday February 8, 2013, photo, a Free Syrian Army fighter sits behind an anti-aircraft weapon in Aleppo, Syria. Syrian rebels brought their fight within a mile of the heart of Damascus on Friday, seizing army checkpoints and cutting a key highway with a row of burning tires as they pressed their campaign for the heavily guarded capital, considered the likely endgame in the nearly 2-year-old civil war. (AP Photo/Abdullah al-Yassin)

BEIRUT (AP) — Activists say Syrian opposition fighters are battling troops loyal to President Bashar Assad for control of the country's largest dam.

Rami Abdul-Rahman, a Britain-based anti-regime activist, says there are sporadic clashes taking place around the al-Furat dam on the Euphrates River in the northeastern province of Raqqa.

He says a group of Assad's loyalists is held up Monday in the dam's control room but that most of the regime troops stopped fighting the day before after the rebels overran the nearby town of al-Thawra.

The fall of al-Furat dam into the opposition hands would be a significant blow to the regime because it supplies water to much of Syria.

Abdul-Rahman, who heads the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, says the rebels already control two other dams on the Euphrates.