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Topic - Al-Nusra Front To Protect The Levant
The new Syrian rebel military commander said that he is "very afraid" a cornered Syrian President Bashar Assad will unleash chemical weapons on his own people but that the opposition does not have the means to seize and secure them.
Syrian rebels including Islamic extremists took full control of a sprawling military base Tuesday after a bloody two-day battle that killed 35 soldiers, activists said. It was the latest gain by opposition forces bolstered by an al Qaeda-linked group that has provided skilled fighters but raised concerns in the West.
President Obama declared Syria's main opposition group the sole "legitimate representative" of its country's people Tuesday, deeming the move "a big step" in the international diplomatic efforts to end Syrian President Bashar Assad's embattled regime.
Syrian rebel commanders have elected a new 30-member leadership council and a chief of staff, a senior rebel said Saturday in a major step toward unifying the opposition that is fighting to oust President Bashar Assad.
The U.S. ambassador to Syria condemned President Bashar Assad for ordering his military to attack hospitals in areas under the control of Syrian rebels, calling the attacks "genuine war crimes."
A shadowy jihadi group believed to be linked to al Qaeda fought alongside rebels who seized a government missile defense base in Syria on Friday, activists said, heightening fears that extremists are taking advantage of the chaos to acquire advanced weapons.
An al Qaeda-inspired group claimed responsibility for dozens of attacks across Syria, the latest evidence that extremists are exploiting the chaos to make inroads in another Middle Eastern country.
He estimated that about a fifth of al-Nusra's fighters are foreigners, but he said he believes they will leave
He said the Syrians in the group, which is believed to number several hundred fighters in all, could be brought back to a more mainstream Islam after the war.