BEIRUT (AP) — Activists say Syrian rebels have captured a hydroelectric dam on the Euphrates river in the country’s north in a strategic victory that followed days of fighting.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the Tishrin Dam, near the town of Manbij, fell to the rebels before dawn on Monday.

Rami Abdul-Rahman, who heads the Observatory, says the dam supplies several areas of Syria with electricity.

The rebels have been making strategic advances recently. On Sunday, they briefly captured a regime helicopter base outside Damascus.

On Monday, Turkey’s military says a delegation of Turkish and NATO officials will start surveying sites for the possible deployment of Patriot missiles on Turkey’s border with Syria.

Syria is believed to have several hundred ballistic surface-to-surface missiles capable of carrying chemical warheads and Turkey, a NATO member, fears a spillover of the civil war on its territory.

A military statement said Monday the selected sites, the number of systems to be installed and the number personnel to be deployed would be worked out after the site surveillance, which starts Tuesday, is complete. It said work toward linking the systems into Turkey’s air defense network is ongoing.

Germany, the Netherlands and the US have the advanced PAC-3 model Patriots that Turkey wants for intercepting ballistic missiles.

Syria’s conflict started in March 2011 as uprising against President Bashar Assad’s regime, inspired by other Arab Spring revolts.

It quickly morphed into a civil war that has since killed more than 40,000 people, according to activists.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.