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Apr 25, 5:48 AM EDT

Reports: Rebels enter strategic town in northwestern Syria

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Reports: Rebels enter strategic town in northwestern Syria

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BEIRUT (AP) -- Activists and opposition media are reporting that several hard-line Syrian rebel groups have pushed their way into a strategic town in northwestern Syria following intense clashes that lasted only days.

Opposition television station Orient News reported Saturday from inside the town of Jisr al-Shughour in Idlib province. Rebel fighters from Islamic factions, including the al-Qaida-affiliated Nusra Front, appeared to be milling in the town's central square, raising their black flag. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also said the rebels are in control of large parts of the town.

Syrian state television quoted a military official saying the army is still in intense clashes there.

Jisr al-Shughour is a strategic town west of the city of Idlib, the provincial capital which fell to rebels less than a month ago.

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