The region, Dael, is considered a gateway to Damascus

Activists say Syrian rebels have captured a strategic town near the border with Jordan after a day of fierce battles that killed 38 people.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says 16 rebels were among the dead in the fighting in and around Dael that ended early on Friday.

The town lies only miles from the Jordanian border in Daraa province where the uprising against President Bashar Assad’s regime began in 2011.

The region is considered a gateway to Damascus. Clashes there have recently intensified as rebels try to push on to the Syrian capital.

The battle for Dael came as a mortar attack on Damascus University killed at least 10 students on Thursday. The U.N. says Syria’s civil war has killed more than 70,000 people.

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