March 5, 2013 - 13:57 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Syrian rebels have captured the governor of the northern province of Raqqa after over-running most its capital city, activists say, according to BBC News.
Amateur video said to be from Raqqa appeared to show Hassan Jalili and another senior ruling party official seated among jubilant armed fighters.
The takeover of Raqqa would mark a major gain for the rebels in their two-year fight against the regime. Reports say clashes were continuing in parts of Raqqa, with more troops sent.
In the past rebels have often struggled to hold on to territory they have taken.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a UK-based activist group, said army reinforcements were on their way, while warplanes and tanks had attacked the city after much of it fell to the rebels.
In video posted on the internet, a large number of purported government soldiers and pro-government gunmen are seen sitting on the ground, surrounded by rebels shouting "Allahu Akbar!" (God is greatest).
In other footage the governor of Raqqa, Hassan Jalili, is shown seated alongside the ruling Baath party's secretary general for Raqa province, Suleiman Suleiman, also surrounded by rebels.
"All we want is to get rid of the regime," a voice is heard telling the two captives.
The SOHR described Jalili's seizure as "the highest profile capture by rebels of a regime official".
According to the SOHR, a high-ranking state security officer was also taken captive by rebels, and a senior police official was killed.
The SOHR is one of the most prominent organizations documenting and reporting incidents and casualties in the Syrian conflict. The group says its reports are impartial, though its information cannot be independently verified.
The group said the jihadist al-Nusra Front were among the rebel groups which took part in fierce fighting against regime forces in the city.
There were scenes of jubilation in the central square, where residents pulled down a statue of former Syrian President Hafez al-Assad, a rope tied around its neck. People then jumped on the fallen statue and hit it with their shoes.
However rebels in Raqqa have not yet consolidated their gains there, and pro-regime forces - including those at the provincial airport about 60km (40 miles) from Raqqa remain a threat, fighters said.
Raqqa, situated on the Euphrates River near the Turkish border, has been a refuge for hundreds of thousands of Syrians who fled the violence in other parts of the country.