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Fierce fighting broke out near Taftanaz military airport

0qwBEIRUT: Fierce fighting broke out on Wednesday between the Syrian army and rebels near Taftanaz military airport, which is located between the northern cities of Aleppo and Idlib, a watchdog said.

Explosions could be heard from the airport, a base for fighter planes and helicopters running sorties over the rebel strongholds of Aleppo and Idlib, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Taftanaz has been the target of several attacks by insurgents entrenched in these two cities, which have suffered daily shelling by government troops.

The battle for Aleppo, Syria's second largest city, has lasted for over a month, with the army unable to dislodge the rebels.

But civilians have born the brunt of the fighting. On Tuesday, the Observatory reported that 189 people were killed countrywide: 143 civilians, 14 rebels and 32 soldiers.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2012