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Originally published Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:07 AM

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Syrian rebels capture key area near Aleppo airport

Activists say Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar Assad's troops have made advances in the country's north after capturing a strategic neighborhood near Aleppo's airport.

The Associated Press

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BEIRUT —

Activists say Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar Assad's troops have made advances in the country's north after capturing a strategic neighborhood near Aleppo's airport.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says rebels captured the Sheik Said area southeast of the embattled Syrian city on Saturday after several days of fierce battles with Assad's troops. It's a significant blow to regime forces because the captured area includes a major road, linking Aleppo with the airport. The army has used the road to supply troops, fighting rebels for control of the city that is Syria's largest urban center.

The government controls parts of Aleppo, but the rebels have captured several neighborhoods and large swathes of land outside the city since it became a major front in civil war last summer.

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