Syrian troops, rebels clash in contested north

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Citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows smoke rises from Aleppo International Airport, Syria, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. Rebels captured a military air base in northern Syria on Tuesday, handing opposition fighters their second strategic victory in their nearly two-year battle against President Bashar Assad in as many days, activists said. (AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center AMC)

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian activists say troops loyal to President Bashar Assad are battling rebels in the country's heavily contested north along the border with Turkey.

The Britain-based Observatory for Human Rights activist group says Wednesday's fighting is concentrated on areas around the city of Aleppo, Syria's largest urban center, and the northern Idlib province.

The fighting comes after opposition fighters' scored several strategic victories in the area against the regime in Damascus, capturing a military air base in the province of Aleppo on Tuesday and the country's largest dam on Euphrates River the day before.

Rebels control large parts of land they captured during 22 months of fighting in Syria's civil war, which the United Nations says has claimed nearly 70,000 lives.