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The battle for Maaret al-Numan: Syrian rebels gain ground in northwestern city

A bomb explodes in the northwestern city of Maaret al-Numan, Syria on Nov. 17.
A bomb explodes in the northwestern city of Maaret al-Numan, Syria on Nov. 17.Mustafa Karali / AP
Free Syrian Army rebels take up positions along an embankment on the outskirts of the northwestern city of Maaret al-Numan, Syria on Nov. 17.Mustafa Karali / AP
Rebels of the Free Syrian Army clean their weapons as airstrikes by the Syrian air force drive the rebels underground, in the northwestern city of Maaret al-Numan, Syria on Nov. 17.Mustafa Karali / AP
A bomb explodes in the northwestern city of Maaret al-Numan, Syria on Nov. 17.Mustafa Karali / AP

After months of fierce fighting for control of the vital Aleppo-Damascus highway, rebels have succeeded in pushing the Syrian army out of the center of Maaret al-Numan located on the highway between Aleppo and Hama.

--The Associated Press

Editor's note: The Associated Press made these photos available to NBC News on Nov. 19.

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A father comforts his son who has just undergone surgery for a bullet wound in his left shoulder outside a field hospital in the northwestern city of Maaret al-Numan, Syria on Nov. 18.Mustafa Karali / AP
A Syrian man salvages furniture from his home that was destroyed in bombing by government forces, in the northwestern city of Maraat al-Numan, Syria on Nov. 17.Mustafa Karali / AP
A look back at the violence that has overtaken the countryAsmaa Waguih / Reuters