BEIRUT — Fighters from a shadowy militant group with suspected links to al-Qaeda joined Syrian rebels in seizing a government missile-defense base in northern Syria on Friday, according to activists and amateur video.
It was unclear whether the rebels were able to hold the base after the attack, and analysts questioned whether they would be able to make use of any of the missiles they might have taken.
Nevertheless, the assault underscored fears of advanced weaponry falling into the hands of extremists, whose role in Syria’s civil war appears to be increasing.
Videos purportedly shot inside the base and posted online stated that the extremist group Jabhat al-Nusra participated in the overnight battle near the village of al-Taaneh, three miles east of the country’s largest city, Aleppo. The videos show dozens of fighters inside the base near a radar tower, along with rows of large missiles, some on the backs of trucks.