Syrian rebels say they seize base on Damascus outskirts
BEIRUT (REUTERS) - Syrian rebels said they had seized the headquarters of an army battalion near the southern gate of Damascus on Monday, the nearest military base to the capital reported to have fallen to opposition fighters in a 20-month revolt.
Activists said the Syrian army had attacked southern districts of Damascus with shelling and rocket fire all day to try to stop the rebels seizing the base, in some of the heaviest bombardment on the capital.
"Multiple rockets launchers are just making huge, random destruction," said Rami al-Sayyed of the Syrian Media Centre, an opposition organisation monitoring the crackdown by President Bashar al-Assad's forces.
The Islamist rebel groups Ansar al-Islam and Jund Allah Brigades said in a statement that they had taken the Air Defence Battalion base near Hajar al-Aswad after four days of fighting.