Syrian rebels close in on Aleppo airport

Posted at 6:56 PM, Feb 13, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-06 11:47:47-05

BEIRUT (AP) — Rebels in Syria are moving in on the country's second-largest airport, in the city of Aleppo. They've reportedly killed more than 40 soldiers as they move toward what could be their biggest conquest since the start of the civil war.

Control of the airport and a neighboring military air base could give the rebels an air hub allowing aid and other flights to come in.

But activists say it could be days before the rebels can push their way into the airport. And even then, it's not clear whether they'd be able to maintain control of it for very long.

Syria's air space is firmly controlled by the government, which uses its warplanes to bomb rebel strongholds.

The airport in Aleppo stopped handling any flights weeks ago because of the fighting.

Already this week, rebels have captured Syria's largest dam and a military base near Aleppo. They have also brought the fight closer to Damascus, moving to within a few miles of the heart of the capital.