In this March 13, 2017 photo, Syrian-American Rania Kisar, talks to The Associated Press, in Istanbul, Turkey. (AP Photo/Sam McNeil)
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Running a school in the enclave controlled by Syria's Al-Qaeda affiliate, Syrian-American Rania Kisar has become skilled in getting her way, either by negotiating with the militants or by pushing back against them.In the meantime, Idlib, swelling with more than 900,000 Syrians displaced from other parts of the country, is the refuge of an opposition movement that hoped to create a new Syria and only a few years earlier appeared to have the momentum in the conflict.Now Kisar and others like her are trying to keep Al-Qaeda's influence at bay.In June, Maaret al-Numan was shaken when pitched street battles erupted between Al-Qaeda militants and the FSA, bringing gruesome revenge killings and leaving at least six civilians dead. Eventually, calm was restored with a shaky reconciliation, though one that increased the militants' influence: The FSA faction running the town had to leave their offices, replaced by an agency linked to Al-Qaeda.
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