1. SYRIA

    Syrian Rebels Seize Provincial Capital

    AFP

    In what could be a major turning point in the two-year-old Syrian conflict, rebel fighters seized the city of Raqqa, a pivotal provincial capital, activist groups reported Monday. Videos show the fighters smashing statues of President Bashar al-Assad’s father and even occupying the governor’s palace. It’s the first complete takeover of a provincial capital by rebel forces, signifying a definitive shift in power and hinting that Assad’s forces have lost the ability to retake a large portion of north and eastern Syria.

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