Residents stand around a mass grave in Khan al-Subul. (The Daily Star/Edlib Reporter, HO)
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Al-Qaeda-linked fighters pressed an offensive Monday against Western-backed rebels in northern Syria, closing in on a vital border crossing with Turkey and exposing the weakness of mainstream opposition groups that the U.S. hopes to turn into a force to take on Islamist extremists.The Nusra Front's recent surge has overrun strongholds in Syria's Idlib province of two prominent rebel factions that proved unable to repel the assault despite getting arms and training from the U.S. The opposition groups' collapse marks a significant setback to Washington's plan of partnering with more moderate brigades. The two primary targets of the Nusra Front's attack are the Syria Rebel Front and the Hazm Movement.It was unclear how far the Nusra Front intended to take its offensive in Idlib.
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