Syrian rebels claim to have captured key town


Syrian rebels say they have captured a strategic town near the border with Jordan after a day of fierce clashes that killed at least 38 people. Opposition fighters say they are expanding their presence in the south, considered a gateway to Damascus.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 16 rebels were among the dead in the fighting in and around Dael. The town lies less than 15 kilometers from the Jordanian border in Daraa province, where the revolt against the government began two years ago. The battle for Dael came as authorities ordered an investigation into a mortar attack on Damascus University that killed at least 10 students on Thursday.

In other areas, the Observatory said heavy clashes were taking place between government forces and fighters renewing their attempts to storm a strategic military facility. It is known as the 17th Division base, north of the city of Raqqa that was captured by rebels earlier this month.

The division is considered one of the most important remaining government strongholds in the northern province that borders Turkey.

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