A Syrian activist says rebels have been able to cut a newly built desert road linking the capital Damascus with the northern city of Aleppo.

Rami-Abdul-Rahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said on Saturday rebels took over two Army posts on the road near Aleppo after days of fighting.

The regime built the desert road as a backup route after rebels captured the town of Maaret al-Numan in October cutting the main highway between the country’s two largest cities.

The Observatory also reported clashes in the town of Qusair, near the border with Lebanon.

The fighting in the town came a day after U.N. commissioner for human rights Navi Pillay expressed alarm over Qusair, which has been besieged by Syrian troops for several weeks.

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