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Syrian rebels attack four government air bases

April 28, 2013 at 10:10 AM

DAMASCUS, Syria, April 28 (UPI) -- Syrian rebels said Sunday they had made a series of attacks on government airfields in a bid to knock out the threat of government airstrikes.

The Syrian Free Army said at least four airfields were still being contested Sunday, including a key base in Idlib province that, if taken, could effectively push the regime of President Bashar Assad out the area.

"Fighter planes and helicopters are deployed from al-Zhuhoor airport to shell Idlib and nearby areas," Zukan Hded, a dissident in Idlib, told CNN. "Also, the airport distributes ammunition by helicopter to nearby military camps."

Air power has been an ace in the hole for Assad and his embattled government. The rebels have little in the way of anti-aircraft weaponry, which means Assad has enjoyed control of the air.

"Fighter planes have caused many deaths, so we want to end any such thing as military air power," opposition activist Jehad al-Hamwwi told CNN.

Assad's forces claimed a victory on the ground Sunday. The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency said government troops headed off a rebel assault on the Minnegh airport near Aleppo. The rebels said they had actually captured about half of the site as of Sunday.

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