A rebel fighter fires towards pro-regime forces during clashes in Sheikh Najar area of the restive Syrian city of Aleppo on February 25, 2014.(AFP PHOTO/ALEPPO MEDIA CENTRE/FADI AL-HALABI)
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In Aleppo, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said that government troops, backed by National Defense paramilitary forces and officers from Lebanon's Hezbollah, advanced against rebel groups near Aleppo's airport, and close to the Army's 80th Division headquarters.Three groups – the Nusra Front, the Mujahedeen Army and the Islamic Front alliance of seven militias – have announced that they were joining forces to set up a unified command center to help fight back against the government's latest efforts to advance on the northern city.The commander of an Islamist militia was killed in clashes outside Yabroud, the Observatory said, as government artillery struck targets around the town, along with the nearby region of the Rima Farms, and the nearby towns of Maaloula and Seidnaya.The rebels are claiming that they have continued to withstand an offensive by regime troops and fighters from Hezbollah. Rebels also made advances during clashes near Deir al-Zor's military airport as government troops and rebel groups traded artillery fire, the Observatory said, adding that there were confirmed casualties on the regime side.
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