Activists: Syria rebels seize strategic town, execute Alawite cleric

By REUTERS
August 26, 2013 15:29

BEIRUT - Rebel forces took control of a strategic town in northern Syria on Monday, cutting off government forces' only supply route out of the city of Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Britain-based monitoring group also said it had obtained a photograph showing the execution of Alawite cleric Badr Ghazal by hardline Islamist rebels, highlighting the growing sectarian bloodshed of the 2-1/2-year conflict.The Observatory, which opposes President Bashar Assad's rule, said rebels took control of Khanasir, a town that sits on the government supply route connecting Aleppo with the central city of Hama.

The rebel gain will leave government forces besieged in Aleppo province, the Observatory said.

Further south, residents in the central province of Homs said rebels also tried on Monday to retake the strategic town of Talkalakh, 4 km (2.5 miles) from Lebanon's northern border. Its capture would allow rebels in the Homs countryside to replenish their supplies.


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