13 soldiers die as Syrian rebels capture base

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Syrian rebels captured part of a large army base outside the embattled northern city of Aleppo, tightening the opposition’s grip on areas close to the Turkish border, activists said yesterday.

The rebels also killed 13 soldiers in an ambush near a strategic northern town along a road linking Aleppo, the nation’s largest city and business hub, with Damascus, and captured 20 soldiers and policemen at a major post on the highway linking the central town of Salamiyeh with the northern city of Raqqa, activists said.

In an interview with Dubai TV, Syria’s top military defector said Bashir al-Assad’s regime is “over” and advised the president to leave office. Manaf Tlass, a Syrian general who was the first member of Mr Assad’s inner circle to break ranks and join the opposition, said “the train of the revolution will be victorious”.

Mr Tlass, who defected in July, said he urged the president to listen to the people’s demands and implement serious reforms.