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November 09, 2013 AT 6:16 AM
Islamist rebels retook most of a military base in northern Syria from forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday after two days of fighting in which at least 60 people have been killed, a monitoring group said. The heavy fighting reflects the strategic importance of the 80th Brigade army base, a few hundred meters (yards) from Aleppo airport on the eastern approaches of the disputed city. Rebels had held the site for nine months until Friday when Assad's troops, backed by heavy artillery fire and air strikes, briefly pushed them out.