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Syria Army Oust Rebels From Airport Near Aleppo, Activists Say

April 7 (Bloomberg) -- Syrian forces pushed rebels, including an al-Qaeda linked group, from a village next to the Aleppo international airport and a military airbase, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Intense fighting is taking place on the outskirts of the “strategic” Aziza village after Syrian forces ousted rebels late yesterday after weeks of clashes, the U.K.-based group said on its Facebook page today. Aziza and Jisr Assan were used by rebels to attack the airports, the group said.

Rebels have tried to capture military airports to reduce the government’s air superiority. In February, rebels including the Islamist Al-Nusra Front, a group classified terrorist by the U.S., captured the Jarah military airport in Aleppo province. They have been unable to seize the Aleppo airport and the Bab al-Neyrab military airbase.

The two-year Syrian conflict has killed more than 70,000 people and the United Nations estimates 1 million refugees have fled to Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and other countries. The fighting has evolved along largely sectarian lines, with many in the Sunni majority supporting the rebels while President Bashar al-Assad draws support mainly from his Alawite community.

Syrian rebels claimed to have cut the road linking Damascus to Jordan, Al Arabiya reported today. Government forces clashed with rebels in the towns of Hran al-A’wamid and al-A’teiba in the Damascus suburbs, the Observatory said on its Facebook page.

To contact the reporter on this story: Glen Carey in Riyadh at gcarey8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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