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Syrian Rebels Control Air Defense Battery After Battle

Nov. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Syrian rebels clashed with armed forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad near Idlib’s Taftanaz military airport after taking control of an air defense battery in the city, an opposition group said.

Battles between the rebel Free Syrian forces and government troops yesterday involving the battery killed nine people, according to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

“We are surrounding the airport from all sides and will soon capture it,” Mithqal al-Btesh, an FSA brigade commander in Idlib told Al Jazeera television. The fight had been fierce around Taftanaz airport, and his men blew up a military jet on the runway, he said.

At least 134 people died in violence across Syria yesterday, including 47 in Idlib and 37 in or around Damascus, the opposition Local Coordination Committees said in an e-mailed statement.

Government forces loyal to al-Assad killed 4,532 civilians in October, an average of 147 people a day, the Syrian Network for Human Rights said in an e-mailed statement.

Russia, which continues to work with the Assad regime, said Nov. 2 that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s proposal for the opposition to search for new leaders to gain wider support is encouraging an “uncompromising” struggle to topple Assad. At least 35,000 people have been killed during the 19-month uprising, according to the U.K.-based group.

Syrian warplanes raided parts of the suburbs in the capital, Damascus, yesterday and engaged with rebel forces in Daraa and Homs, the Observatory group also said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dahlia Kholaif in Kuwait at dkholaif@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Shaji Mathew at shajimathew@bloomberg.net

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