While Western diplomats fawn over a new, Islamist dominated leadership council for Syria’s rebels, the biggest rebel faction not represented, the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, continues to secure more territory in the nation’s north.
This time, the Nusra fighters have captured what is being called a strategically vital army base on the outskirts of the nation’s largest city, which remains contested by several rebel factions as well as the regime.
Rebels familiar with the capture of the base say that it effectively means they control the region from the base west to the Turkish border, but added that they did not acquire any major weaponry from the base, as the fleeing troops appear to have taken it with them.
Major fighting was also reported in Maarat al-Numaan, a strategically important town on the highway between Aleppo and Damascus. Rebels have held the town for months, while a nearby military base has remained under regime control, effectively making the highway impassable for both sides.