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Rebels seize Syrian army base


February 19. 2013 6:41PM
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BEIRUT — Syrian rebels seized a key military base with artillery stockpiles in the country's east Thursday, strengthening their hold in an oil-rich strategic province bordering Iraq, activists said.


The rebels have been making advances in the Deir el-Zour province recently, and the capture of the base followed the seizure of a military airport in the same area last week.


In the country's north, meanwhile, the two sides have been locked in a deadly stalemate for months.


Syrian warplanes flattened a building next to a hospital in Aleppo late Wednesday, killing at least 15 people, including a doctor and three children, and damaging one of the last remaining sources of medical help for civilians in the northern city, activists said


Once a private clinic owned by a businessman loyal to President Bashar Assad, the Dar al-Shifa became a field hospital run by volunteer doctors, nurses and aides united by their opposition to the regime and the need to give medical care to both civilians and rebels.


The facility has taken at least six direct hits in recent months, mostly affecting the upper floors. The seven-story hospital is only 400-500 yards from the front line in a neighborhood that is heavily shelled every day.


The warplanes turned the building adjacent to the hospital into a pile of rubble and sprayed shrapnel and debris into Dar al-Shifa itself, activists said.


Rami Abdul-Rahman, chief of the Observatory, said at least 11 fighters were killed in the raid, in addition to a doctor, a young girl and two children who were on the street.


Another activist group, the Local Coordination Committees, confirmed the bombing and identified the doctor as Mohammad Qassem Agha. The group said 40 people died in airstrikes in Aleppo on Wednesday, but did not say how many died in the hospital strike.




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