, BEIRUT, June 2013 – Syrian rebels seized on Thursday a key army position in the central province of Hama, which lies on the road linking Damascus to Aleppo in the north, a monitoring group said Thursday.
The military responded by deploying en masse to try to take back the position at Morek and began shelling it, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights added.
“Rebel fighters took control of an army position situated at the northern edges of Morek village in the north of Hama province, capturing ammunition and weapons from the military after fierce clashes,” said the Britain-based Observatory.
The group said six soldiers were killed.
Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said the position is strategically important because it lies on the main road linking the capital to Aleppo, large swathes of which are under rebel control.
The road is the military’s main supply route to Aleppo and to Khan Sheykhoun in the northwestern province of Idlib. It also leads to Maaret al-Noman, which the army has been trying to take back from rebel hands since its capture in October.
The capture of the Morek position comes days after pro-regime media announced an upcoming campaign to take back Aleppo from rebel hands.
Meanwhile, the Observatory reported shelling on the Qaboun suburb northeast of Damascus at dawn, as well as fierce clashes on the edges of Barzeh in the north of the capital.
Battles have raged for weeks in Barzeh, most of which is under rebel control.
At least 90 people were killed across Syria on Wednesday.
The United Nations said on Thursday that more than 93,000 people among them 6,500 children have been killed in Syria’s nearly 27-month conflict.
That figure is similar to one of more than 94,000 provided by the Observatory, which relies on a broad network of activists, doctors and lawyers for its reports.