Syrian rebels say airport legitimate target

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BEIRUT — Syrian rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad declared Damascus International Airport a “legitimate target” today in a bid to cut off regime supplies, as clashes between government troops and rebels forced the closure of the airport road for the second time this week.

Fighting around the Syrian capital and the airport has intensified in recent days as rebels press a battle they hope will lead to the collapse of Assad’s regime after 20 months of conflict. They have set their sights on the city of 1.7 million, and fighting on the outskirts is raising fears that it soon could be facing the most brutal battle of the Syrian civil war.

Loss of control of the airport would be a major blow to the regime. Iran and Russia are widely believed to be supplying it with weapons through the airport.

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