Syrian borders in rebel hands, battles in Damascus

By REUTERS
July 20, 2012 09:23

 
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AMMAN/CILVEGOZU, Turkey - Rebels seized control of sections of Syria's international borders and torched the main police headquarters in the heart of old Damascus, advancing relentlessly after the assassination of Syrian President Bashar Assad's closest lieutenants.

The battle for parts of the capital raged into the early hours of Friday, with corpses piled in the streets. In some neighborhoods, residents said there were signs that the government's presence was diminishing.

Officials in neighboring Iraq confirmed that Syrian rebels were now in control of the Syrian side of the main Abu Kamal border checkpoint on the Euphrates River highway, one of the major trade routes across the Middle East.

Rebels also claimed control of at least two border crossings into Turkey at Bab al-Hawa and Jarablus, in what appeared to have been a coordinated campaign to seize Syria's frontiers.

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