Syrian rebels capture army base in eastern oil region

  • Syrian rebels captured an army base in an eastern oil province on Thursday, dealing a further blow to President Bashar al-Assad's grasp in the strategic region along the Iraqi border.

    The capture of the artillery base on the outskirts of Mayadeen, a town on the banks of the Euphrates River, follows rebel takeovers of military installations in northern and central Syria this week.

    According to Abu Laila, an official in the province’s Military Revolutionary Council, 44 rebel fighters had been killed in the operation to capture the base.

    "The whole countryside, from the Iraqi border and along the Euphrates to the city of Deir al-Zor, is now under rebel control," he added.

    Online videos showed rebels on motorcycles and trucks believed to be inside the base waving victory signs.

    However, strict restrictions on non-state media make it difficult to verify opposition reports independently.

    The capture of the Mayadeen base leaves Assad in control of just three major army bases in Deir al-Zor province.