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Rebels capture village in northwest Syria

Syrian rebels capture village in northwest

Rebels capture village in northwest Syria

BEIRUT (AP) -- Syrian rebels captured a village in northwestern Syria on Sunday, killing more than a dozen government troops in heavy fighting, activists said.

The village of Tel Meleh, northwest of the city of Hama, has changed hands several times over the course of Syria's three-year conflict, which has killed more than 150,000 people.

The anti-government Local Coordination Committees activist group says the rebels killed "large numbers" of President Bashar Assad's forces and destroyed at least one tank while taking Tel Meleh.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says at least 18 pro-government troops and two rebels were killed in the fighting.

Observatory director Rami Abdurrahman says the government will be anxious to reassert control over Tel Meleh since many of the surrounding villages and towns are primarily populated by Christians as well as members of Assad's own Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.