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An opposition activist group and a rebel commander say Kurdish fighters and their allies have captured a military air base in northern Syria

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BEIRUT — An opposition activist group and a rebel say Kurdish fighters and their allies have captured a military air base in northern Syria.

PHOTO: In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrians gather in a street that was hit by shelling, in the predominantly Christian and Armenian neighborhood of Suleimaniyeh, Aleppo, Syria, April 11, 2015. Russia has proposed a March 1, 2016, ceasefire in Syria, U.S. officials said Feb. 10, but Washington believes Moscow is giving itself and the Syrian government three weeks to try to crush moderate rebel groups. The U.S. has countered with demands for the fighting to stop immediately, the officials said. Peace talks are supposed to resume by Feb. 25. The conflict has killed more than a quarter-million people, created Europe’s biggest refugee crisis since World War II and allowed the Islamic State to carve out its own territory across parts of Syria and neighboring Iraq. (AP Photo/SANA)
In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrians gather in a street that was hit by shelling, in the predominantly Christian and Armenian neighborhood of Suleimaniyeh, Aleppo, Syria, April 11, 2015. Russia has proposed a March 1, 2016, ceasefire in Syria, U.S. officials said Feb. 10, but Washington believes Moscow is giving itself and the Syrian government three weeks to try to crush moderate rebel groups. The U.S. has countered with demands for the fighting to stop immediately, the officials said. Peace talks are supposed to resume by Feb. 25. The conflict has killed more than a quarter-million people, created Europe’s biggest refugee crisis since World War II and allowed the Islamic State to carve out its own territory across parts of Syria and neighboring Iraq. (AP Photo/SANA)

Abdul-Jabbar Abu Thabet, a local rebel commander in the Aleppo province, said Thursday that Mannagh air base fell to the People's Protection Units, or YPG, and their allies after fierce battles.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the offensive came as warplanes believed to be Russian carried out 30 airstrikes in the area. It said the air base and a nearby village, also called Mannagh, fell late Wednesday.

With Syrian troops backed by Russian warplanes waging a major offensive between the northern city of Aleppo and the Turkish border, the Kurds appeared to be exploiting the chaos to expand their nearby enclave, known as Afrin.

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