Syria rebels take key regime base in Aleppo
Syrian rebels including the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front have said they have captured the regime's air force intelligence complex in Aleppo after two years of fighting that has left the area in ruins.
Fighters stormed the base on Monday evening after blowing up a mine dug under the complex, reports said. A Nusra source said regime soldiers were forced to withdraw to the neighbouring residential area of al-Zahraa.
Nusra said the rebels detonated a large mine beneath the southern wing of the air force intelligence building.
The source said the mine explosion and fighting killed at least 70 pro-regime fighters, including men from the Palestinian al-Quds Brigade of the pro-regime PFLP-GC and Fatah al-Intifada, as well as fighters from the loyalist National Defence Forces.
Nusra said it co-ordinated the attack with allies including the Levantine Front, Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar (Army of Emigrants and Supporters), and the Dawn of the Caliphate.
The mine explosion was the latest in a number of similar attacks in Aleppo. Last year, opposition forces used explosives packed in a tunnel to destroy a hotel being used by regime forces near the old citadel area.
The air force intelligence complex was a major base for regime forces, and housed a prison and command complex.
The regime had transferred prisoners and officers out of the building three months ago, following increased pressure from opposition forces, into a building near al-Shifaa roundabout in regime-controlled New Aleppo.
This is an edited translation of the original Arabic.