Syrian rebels attack strategic Taftanaz airbase


A rebel fires his machine gun against pro-Syrian government forces in the Bustan al-Bashar district of Aleppo on October 27, 2012.



Syrian rebels today launched a major operation on a northern airbase in an attempt to cut off air traffic between Damascus and the country's second-largest city of Aleppo, reported Reuters.

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The attack on the Taftanaz airfield north of Aleppo reportedly involved several large rebel groups that assembled "eight battalions of guerrilla fighters," according to The Telegraph's Syria correspondents.

The government's attack helicopters rely on the strategically-located Taftanaz base for many of their operations, said The Telegraph. 

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights today said the regime took revenge by way of a warplane attack on the nearby village of Bennish, reported Reuters

Activists say over 30,000 people in Syria have been killed over the last 18 months in fighting between President Bashar al-Assad's regime and an armed anti-government uprising. 

Today's operation also pulled in fighters from the Islamic militant group Jabhat al-Nusra, which is suspected of being associated with al-Qaeda, said The Telegraph

It also comes a day before an international conference kicks off in Qatar on the crisis in Syria.