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DAMASCUS: Syrian rebels overran the northern city of Raqa yesterday, scoring their biggest victory since the outbreak of a revolt against President Bashar Al Assad almost two years ago.
In central Syria, insurgents battled a major army offensive to capture rebel-held areas of the city of Homs, a watchdog reported, as the US said it would work to “empower” the opposition.
Reflecting the regional spillover from the conflict, dozens of Syrian soldiers and seven Iraqis were killed in western Iraq as gunmen ambushed a convoy that had crossed the border to escape weekend fighting, a group of Iraqi army officers said. After days of fierce fighting, the rebels were now in “near-total control” of Raqa, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. In Raqa, residents destroyed a statue of Assad’s father and predecessor Hafez Al Assad, according to amateur video footage distributed by activists. AFP