The seizure by insurgents of Mastouma army base in northwestern Syria is the latest setback for President Bashar al-Assad at the hands of rebel groups. Mana Rabiee reports.
REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE CONTENT OF THIS VIDEO, WHICH HAS BEEN OBTAINED FROM A SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITE The rebels reportedly seized control of the Mastouma army base in Idlib on Tuesday. A monitoring group says troops loyal to President Basahr al Assad withdrew after heavy clashes with the Islamist-led insurgents. It says the soldiers moved to the northern town of Ariha, one of the last government strongholds in this province. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) UNIDENTIFIED FIGHTER, SAYING: "We expelled them to Ariha and it's a matter of hours until we will be able to arbitrate the law of God in this land." (man tears down Assad poster in distance) Video posted online purports to show the insurgents clearing the area of any vestiges of Assad. More video claims to show insurgents from the same, mostly Sunni, alliance that took the military base attacking the nearby town of Nahliya. Both areas are near Syria's coast -- the historic homeland of Assad's family and Alawite sect.