BEIRUT (AP) — Anti-regime activists say jihadist fighters linked to al-Qaida fought with rebels to capture a Syrian military air defense base near Aleppo.
Videos posted online Friday apparently shot inside the base say Jabhat al-Nusra participated in the overnight battle for the base. The videos show fighters inspecting lines of large missiles.
Two Aleppo-based activists and Rami Abdul-Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, also say Jabhat al-Nusra fought in the battle.
The base's capture is sure to fuel fears that Islamic extremists are playing a greater role after nearly 19 months of unrest in Syria. Western powers cite their presence as a reason not to arm the rebels.
Syrian opposition activists estimate more than 32,000 people have been killed since March 2011 when the uprising against Assad's regime began.