BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian rebels on Friday captured a strategic town near the border with Jordan after a day of fierce clashes that killed at least 38 people, activists said, as opposition fighters expand their presence in the south, considered a gateway to Damascus.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 16 rebels were among the dead in the fighting in and around Dael. The town lies less than 15 kilometers (10 miles) from the Jordanian border in Daraa province, where the uprising against President Bashar Assad's regime began two years ago.