Free Syrian Army fighters rest in the Jabal al-Akrad area in Syria's northwestern Latakia province October 16, 2013. REUTERS/Khattab Abdulaa
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Hard-line Islamic rebels captured a small town in northwestern Syria near the Turkish border as part of their offensive in the rugged coastal region that is a bastion of support for President Bashar Assad, activists said Monday.Forces loyal to Assad have captured several towns near Syria's border with Lebanon as part of a government offensive aimed severing rebel supply lines across the porous frontier and securing the border.This is not the first significant rebel offensive in Latakia.Afterward, Human Rights Watch said nearly 200 civilians, including children, the elderly and the handicapped, were killed in the attack. It said rebel abuses during the operation amounted to war crimes.Now in its fourth year, Syria's conflict has killed more than 140,000 people, forced more than 2 million people to seek refuge abroad, and triggered a massive humanitarian crisis across the region.
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