Syrian rebels seized a strategic checkpoint northwest of Aleppo on Monday after a 10-hour battle, securing them free movement between the northern city and Turkey, an AFP journalist said.
"The Anadan checkpoint, five kilometres northwest of Aleppo, was taken this morning at 5:00 am (0200 GMT) after 10 hours of fighting," said General Ferzat Abdel Nasser, a rebel officer who deserted the Syrian army a month ago.
By securing this position, the rebels now control a direct route between the Turkish border and the city of Aleppo, where the Syrian army launched an offensive Saturday to dislodge the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA), composed of deserters and armed civilians.
An AFP journalist on the ground said that the rebels captured seven tanks and armoured vehicles, and destroyed an eighth vehicle.
Six soldiers were killed and 25 were taken as prisoners, General Ferzat told AFP by phone, adding that four of his own men died in the fighting.