Al-Qaida gunmen seize town in northern Syria

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Associated Press

Posted on September 19, 2013 at 1:33 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 19 at 1:33 PM

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Al-Qaida militants in northern Syria have captured a town near the Turkish border after heavy fighting with Western-backed rebels. That word comes from activists and Turkish officials, who say a nearby frontier crossing has been closed.

The developments reflect what has become a war within a war in northern and eastern parts of Syria. Moderate fighters and Kurdish militiamen have been pitted against extremists with ties to al-Qaida in battles that have left hundreds dead from both sides.

The U.S. and its European and Gulf allies are increasingly concerned about the rising prominence of Islamists among Syria's rebels. They've played a major role in the civil war against President Bashar Assad's forces.

Elsewhere in Syria today, a local official says a bus struck a roadside bomb in the central province of Homs (hohms), killing 19 people. It happened in a village where most residents are members of a minority sect that also includes Assad. But it's not clear why the bus was targeted.

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