Syrian rebels capture most of northern city
BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian rebels pushed government troops from most of the northern city of Raqqa Monday, setting off celebrations in a central square where scores of cheering protesters tore down a bronze statue of President Bashar Assad's late father and predecessor, activists said.
If rebels seize control of Raqqa, it would be the first time an entire city had fallen into the hands of anti-Assad fighters. Rebels hold parts of several major Syrian cities — several neighborhoods in Aleppo, Homs and Deir el-Zour, as well as suburbs of the capital, Damascus. They also control large areas in the countryside, particularly in the north.
The rebel advances are a significant blow to Assad, although during the past week his forces have regained control of several villages and towns along a key highway near Aleppo International Airport.
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