Activist: Syrian rebels seize key army base

BEIRUT: Activists say Syrian rebels have gained control of a key military base in the central Hama province after intense clashes with regime forces.

The base is on the northern edge of the town of Morek, which straddles the country’s strategic north-south highway leading to theprovince of Aleppo.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the rebels seized the base after intense clashes with regime forces on Thursday.

The Observatory says the rebels killed six government troops and seized weapons and ammunition. A video posted on Hama activists’ Facebook page shows flames rising from the burning compound and the bodies of some of the killed fighters.

President Bashar Assad’s forces are waging an offensive to drive rebels out of the central provinces of Hama and Homs, and the northern Aleppo province.