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Syrian rebel fighters shell army base

  • In this Monday, Oct. 7, 2013 photo, opposition fighters reload pieces of heavy artillery during an attack on the Wadi al-Deef military post at the frontline in Maaret al-Numan in the Idlib province countryside of Syria. With much of the northern countryside now in opposition hands, a cat-and-mouse game has emerged over the past year as the rebels try to cut the government supply lines to the regime's remaining troops in the north. (AP Photo)

    In this Monday, Oct. 7, 2013 photo, opposition fighters reload pieces of heavy artillery during an attack on the Wadi al-Deef military post at the frontline in Maaret al-Numan in the Idlib province countryside of Syria. With much of the northern countryside now in opposition hands, a cat-and-mouse game has emerged over the past year as the rebels try to cut the government supply lines to the regime's remaining troops in the north. (AP Photo)

  • An opposition fighter talks with his comrade as he looks for targets during their attack over Syrian government forces' Wadi al-Deef military post in Maraat Al-Nouman in the Idlib province, Syria, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. Syrian government warplanes bombed rebel positions near the strategic northern city on Tuesday, activists said, as international inspectors toured production and storage sites of the country's chemical weapons arsenal. (AP Photo)

    An opposition fighter talks with his comrade as he looks for targets during their attack over Syrian government forces' Wadi al-Deef military post in Maraat Al-Nouman in the Idlib province, Syria, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. Syrian government warplanes bombed rebel positions near the strategic northern city on Tuesday, activists said, as international inspectors toured production and storage sites of the country's chemical weapons arsenal. (AP Photo)

  • In this Monday, Oct. 07, 2013 photo, opposition fighters prepare themselves for the battle during an attack on the Wadi al-Deef military post at the frontline in Maaret al-Numan in the Idlib province countryside of Syria. With much of the northern countryside now in opposition hands, a cat-and-mouse game has emerged over the past year as the rebels try to cut the government supply lines to the regime's remaining troops in the north. (AP Photo)

    In this Monday, Oct. 07, 2013 photo, opposition fighters prepare themselves for the battle during an attack on the Wadi al-Deef military post at the frontline in Maaret al-Numan in the Idlib province countryside of Syria. With much of the northern countryside now in opposition hands, a cat-and-mouse game has emerged over the past year as the rebels try to cut the government supply lines to the regime's remaining troops in the north. (AP Photo)

  • This image made from video broadcast on Syrian State Television on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013 purports to show a chemical weapons expert examining taking samples at a chemical weapons plant at an unknown location in Syria. The joint OPCW-U.N. mission to scrap Syria's chemical program stems from a deadly Aug. 21 attack on opposition-held suburbs of Damascus in which the U.N. has determined the nerve agent sarin was used. Hundreds of people were killed, including many children. The U.S. and Western allies accuse the Syrian government of being responsible, while Damascus blames the rebels. (AP Photo/Syrian State Television via AP video)

    This image made from video broadcast on Syrian State Television on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013 purports to show a chemical weapons expert examining taking samples at a chemical weapons plant at an unknown location in Syria. The joint OPCW-U.N. mission to scrap Syria's chemical program stems from a deadly Aug. 21 attack on opposition-held suburbs of Damascus in which the U.N. has determined the nerve agent sarin was used. Hundreds of people were killed, including many children. The U.S. and Western allies accuse the Syrian government of being responsible, while Damascus blames the rebels. (AP Photo/Syrian State Television via AP video)

  • In this Monday, Oct. 07, 2013 photo, smoke rises after a bombing from a helicopter during heavy fighting at the frontline in Maaret al-Numan in the Idlib province countryside of Syria. With much of the northern countryside now in opposition hands, a cat-and-mouse game has emerged over the past year as the rebels try to cut the government supply lines to the regime's remaining troops in the north. (AP Photo)

    In this Monday, Oct. 07, 2013 photo, smoke rises after a bombing from a helicopter during heavy fighting at the frontline in Maaret al-Numan in the Idlib province countryside of Syria. With much of the northern countryside now in opposition hands, a cat-and-mouse game has emerged over the past year as the rebels try to cut the government supply lines to the regime's remaining troops in the north. (AP Photo)

  • A convoy of chemical weapons disarmament experts depart the Four Seasons Hotel in Damascus, Syria, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. The joint OPCW-U.N. mission to scrap Syria's chemical program stems from a deadly Aug. 21 attack on opposition-held suburbs of Damascus in which the U.N. has determined the nerve agent sarin was used. Hundreds of people were killed, including many children.(AP Photo)

    A convoy of chemical weapons disarmament experts depart the Four Seasons Hotel in Damascus, Syria, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. The joint OPCW-U.N. mission to scrap Syria's chemical program stems from a deadly Aug. 21 attack on opposition-held suburbs of Damascus in which the U.N. has determined the nerve agent sarin was used. Hundreds of people were killed, including many children.(AP Photo)

  • In this photo released by the Egyptian Presidency, Egypt's interim President Adly Mansour, center, Defense Minister Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi, left, and other officials visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and President Anwar Sadat's memorial as part of celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of the start of the 1973 Middle East war in which Egyptian forces made initial gains against Israel, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013.   Egypt's army is on high alert ahead of expected mass demonstrations by supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi timed to coincide with annual celebrations honoring the military, a combination many fear will lead to a new round of violence. (AP Photo/Egyptian Presidency)

    In this photo released by the Egyptian Presidency, Egypt's interim President Adly Mansour, center, Defense Minister Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi, left, and other officials visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and President Anwar Sadat's memorial as part of celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of the start of the 1973 Middle East war in which Egyptian forces made initial gains against Israel, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013. Egypt's army is on high alert ahead of expected mass demonstrations by supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi timed to coincide with annual celebrations honoring the military, a combination many fear will lead to a new round of violence. (AP Photo/Egyptian Presidency)

  • This Monday, Oct. 7, 2013 photo, shows a piece of heavy artillery being fired during an attack by opposition fighters on the Wadi al-Deef military post at the frontline in Maaret al-Numan in the Idlib province countryside of Syria. With much of the northern countryside now in opposition hands, a cat-and-mouse game has emerged over the past year as the rebels try to cut the government supply lines to the regime's remaining troops in the north. (AP Photo)

    This Monday, Oct. 7, 2013 photo, shows a piece of heavy artillery being fired during an attack by opposition fighters on the Wadi al-Deef military post at the frontline in Maaret al-Numan in the Idlib province countryside of Syria. With much of the northern countryside now in opposition hands, a cat-and-mouse game has emerged over the past year as the rebels try to cut the government supply lines to the regime's remaining troops in the north. (AP Photo)

  • In this Monday, Oct. 7, 2013 photo, smoke rises from the battlefield as opposition fighters carry out an attack on the Wadi al-Deef military post at the frontline in Maaret al-Numan in the Idlib province countryside of Syria. With much of the northern countryside now in opposition hands, a cat-and-mouse game has emerged over the past year as the rebels try to cut the government supply lines to the regime's remaining troops in the north. (AP Photo)

    In this Monday, Oct. 7, 2013 photo, smoke rises from the battlefield as opposition fighters carry out an attack on the Wadi al-Deef military post at the frontline in Maaret al-Numan in the Idlib province countryside of Syria. With much of the northern countryside now in opposition hands, a cat-and-mouse game has emerged over the past year as the rebels try to cut the government supply lines to the regime's remaining troops in the north. (AP Photo)

  • In this Monday, Oct. 7, 2013 photo, an opposition fighter prays moments before heading into battle at the frontline in Maaret al-Numan in the Idlib province countryside of Syria. With much of the northern countryside now in opposition hands, a cat-and-mouse game has emerged over the past year as rebels try to cut the government supply lines to the regime's remaining troops in the north. (AP Photo)

    In this Monday, Oct. 7, 2013 photo, an opposition fighter prays moments before heading into battle at the frontline in Maaret al-Numan in the Idlib province countryside of Syria. With much of the northern countryside now in opposition hands, a cat-and-mouse game has emerged over the past year as rebels try to cut the government supply lines to the regime's remaining troops in the north. (AP Photo)

  • Smoke rises from a launcher after a fire by opposition fighters, not seen because they took cover themselves from the firing, during their attack over Syrian government forces' Wadi al-Deef military post in Maaret al-Numan in the Idlib province, Syria, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. Syrian government warplanes bombed rebel positions near the strategic northern city on Tuesday, activists said, as international inspectors toured production and storage sites of the country's chemical weapons arsenal. (AP Photo)

    Smoke rises from a launcher after a fire by opposition fighters, not seen because they took cover themselves from the firing, during their attack over Syrian government forces' Wadi al-Deef military post in Maaret al-Numan in the Idlib province, Syria, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. Syrian government warplanes bombed rebel positions near the strategic northern city on Tuesday, activists said, as international inspectors toured production and storage sites of the country's chemical weapons arsenal. (AP Photo)

  • Smoke rises from a burning tank as an opposition fighter commander watches over Syrian government forces' positions in their Wadi al-Deef military post in Maaret al-Numan in the Idlib province, Syria, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. Syrian government warplanes bombed rebel positions near the strategic northern city on Tuesday, activists said, as international inspectors toured production and storage sites of the country's chemical weapons arsenal. (AP Photo)

    Smoke rises from a burning tank as an opposition fighter commander watches over Syrian government forces' positions in their Wadi al-Deef military post in Maaret al-Numan in the Idlib province, Syria, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. Syrian government warplanes bombed rebel positions near the strategic northern city on Tuesday, activists said, as international inspectors toured production and storage sites of the country's chemical weapons arsenal. (AP Photo)

  • An opposition fighter fires towards Syrian government forces in Maaret al-Numan in the Idlib province, Syria, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. Syrian government warplanes bombed rebel positions near the strategic northern city on Tuesday, activists said, as international inspectors toured production and storage sites of the country's chemical weapons arsenal. (AP Photo)

    An opposition fighter fires towards Syrian government forces in Maaret al-Numan in the Idlib province, Syria, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. Syrian government warplanes bombed rebel positions near the strategic northern city on Tuesday, activists said, as international inspectors toured production and storage sites of the country's chemical weapons arsenal. (AP Photo)

  • In this Monday, Oct. 7, 2013 photo, opposition fighters reload pieces of heavy artillery during an attack on the Wadi al-Deef military post at the frontline in Maaret al-Numan in the Idlib province countryside of Syria. With much of the northern countryside now in opposition hands, a cat-and-mouse game has emerged over the past year as the rebels try to cut the government supply lines to the regime's remaining troops in the north. (AP Photo)
  • An opposition fighter talks with his comrade as he looks for targets during their attack over Syrian government forces' Wadi al-Deef military post in Maraat Al-Nouman in the Idlib province, Syria, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. Syrian government warplanes bombed rebel positions near the strategic northern city on Tuesday, activists said, as international inspectors toured production and storage sites of the country's chemical weapons arsenal. (AP Photo)
  • In this Monday, Oct. 07, 2013 photo, opposition fighters prepare themselves for the battle during an attack on the Wadi al-Deef military post at the frontline in Maaret al-Numan in the Idlib province countryside of Syria. With much of the northern countryside now in opposition hands, a cat-and-mouse game has emerged over the past year as the rebels try to cut the government supply lines to the regime's remaining troops in the north. (AP Photo)
  • This image made from video broadcast on Syrian State Television on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013 purports to show a chemical weapons expert examining taking samples at a chemical weapons plant at an unknown location in Syria. The joint OPCW-U.N. mission to scrap Syria's chemical program stems from a deadly Aug. 21 attack on opposition-held suburbs of Damascus in which the U.N. has determined the nerve agent sarin was used. Hundreds of people were killed, including many children. The U.S. and Western allies accuse the Syrian government of being responsible, while Damascus blames the rebels. (AP Photo/Syrian State Television via AP video)
  • In this Monday, Oct. 07, 2013 photo, smoke rises after a bombing from a helicopter during heavy fighting at the frontline in Maaret al-Numan in the Idlib province countryside of Syria. With much of the northern countryside now in opposition hands, a cat-and-mouse game has emerged over the past year as the rebels try to cut the government supply lines to the regime's remaining troops in the north. (AP Photo)
  • A convoy of chemical weapons disarmament experts depart the Four Seasons Hotel in Damascus, Syria, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. The joint OPCW-U.N. mission to scrap Syria's chemical program stems from a deadly Aug. 21 attack on opposition-held suburbs of Damascus in which the U.N. has determined the nerve agent sarin was used. Hundreds of people were killed, including many children.(AP Photo)
  • In this photo released by the Egyptian Presidency, Egypt's interim President Adly Mansour, center, Defense Minister Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi, left, and other officials visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and President Anwar Sadat's memorial as part of celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of the start of the 1973 Middle East war in which Egyptian forces made initial gains against Israel, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013.   Egypt's army is on high alert ahead of expected mass demonstrations by supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi timed to coincide with annual celebrations honoring the military, a combination many fear will lead to a new round of violence. (AP Photo/Egyptian Presidency)
  • This Monday, Oct. 7, 2013 photo, shows a piece of heavy artillery being fired during an attack by opposition fighters on the Wadi al-Deef military post at the frontline in Maaret al-Numan in the Idlib province countryside of Syria. With much of the northern countryside now in opposition hands, a cat-and-mouse game has emerged over the past year as the rebels try to cut the government supply lines to the regime's remaining troops in the north. (AP Photo)
  • In this Monday, Oct. 7, 2013 photo, smoke rises from the battlefield as opposition fighters carry out an attack on the Wadi al-Deef military post at the frontline in Maaret al-Numan in the Idlib province countryside of Syria. With much of the northern countryside now in opposition hands, a cat-and-mouse game has emerged over the past year as the rebels try to cut the government supply lines to the regime's remaining troops in the north. (AP Photo)
  • In this Monday, Oct. 7, 2013 photo, an opposition fighter prays moments before heading into battle at the frontline in Maaret al-Numan in the Idlib province countryside of Syria. With much of the northern countryside now in opposition hands, a cat-and-mouse game has emerged over the past year as rebels try to cut the government supply lines to the regime's remaining troops in the north. (AP Photo)
  • Smoke rises from a launcher after a fire by opposition fighters, not seen because they took cover themselves from the firing, during their attack over Syrian government forces' Wadi al-Deef military post in Maaret al-Numan in the Idlib province, Syria, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. Syrian government warplanes bombed rebel positions near the strategic northern city on Tuesday, activists said, as international inspectors toured production and storage sites of the country's chemical weapons arsenal. (AP Photo)
  • Smoke rises from a burning tank as an opposition fighter commander watches over Syrian government forces' positions in their Wadi al-Deef military post in Maaret al-Numan in the Idlib province, Syria, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. Syrian government warplanes bombed rebel positions near the strategic northern city on Tuesday, activists said, as international inspectors toured production and storage sites of the country's chemical weapons arsenal. (AP Photo)
  • An opposition fighter fires towards Syrian government forces in Maaret al-Numan in the Idlib province, Syria, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. Syrian government warplanes bombed rebel positions near the strategic northern city on Tuesday, activists said, as international inspectors toured production and storage sites of the country's chemical weapons arsenal. (AP Photo)

Rebel fighters dressed in camouflage uniforms carefully loaded mortar rounds, then with a loud boom and a burst of smoke the shells zipped off in the direction of a nearby government army base.

“We are coming to get you, shabiha!” a man surrounded by rebel fighters shouted in an apparent reference to President Bashar Assad, using the term the opposition uses to refer to pro-government gunmen.

The shelling yesterday, the latest salvo in an assault on the military facility, was part of a broader rebel effort to capture the remaining regime outposts in the largely opposition-held countryside of northern Syria.

Dramatic footage shot by the Associated Press showed a group of 45 young rebel fighters launching an attack on the military base and others deploying improvised cannons and makeshift mortars. Some were also seen firing anti-aircraft weapons at attacking government helicopters.

The rebels captured the strategic city of Maaret al-Numan a year ago after systematically seizing the army’s outposts in the area, a major supply route linking the capital, Damascus, with the contested Idlib region and Syria’s largest city, Aleppo.

But despite repeated assaults on the nearby military installation of Hamidiyeh, in the Wadi Deif area east of the city, the rebel fighters have failed to break through the heavily fortified base.

The latest operation began Monday, and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said many Libyan fighters were battling on the rebel side.

It said regime fighter jets twice hit opposition-held areas near the city yesterday and the clashes caused casualties, though it gave no specifics.

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