Syrians carry a body following a reported airstrike by government forces on April 4, 2014 on the Shaar neighbourhood of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo.(AFP PHOTO / BARAA Al-HALABI)
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Islamist rebels in Syria have retaken a town from President Bashar Assad's forces, activists said Friday, in part of an offensive along a stretch of the main highway linking Damascus to the northern city of Aleppo.The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said rebels killed 18 soldiers and disabled two tanks in the fight for the northern town of Babolin. Assad's army, backed by local militia and Hezbollah fighters, has made steady gains around Damascus and in the Lebanese border areas, but his forces remain stretched and rebels have sought to seize the initiative elsewhere.Rebels had blockaded the bases for six months, trying to cut Assad's main road link between Damascus and Aleppo, before they were pushed back in April 2013 .Fighting also raged in the east of Damascus as the regime tried force to rebels out of a number of strategic towns.Assad's forces have been seeking for months to solidify its hold on Damascus by dislodging rebels from the towns on the city's fringes.
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