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Syrian rebels seize border crossing to Turkey

Rebel fighters in Syria claim to have seized another border crossing into Turkey, from the control of President Assad's government forces. But around the capital Damascus, the rebels are losing ground. Three southern suburbs have been retaken by the president's forces. ITV's Bill Neely reports from Damascus.

AKCAKALE, Turkey -- Syrian rebels seized a third border crossing with Turkey on Wednesday, a Turkish official said, after fierce overnight battles with Syrian government troops that sent bullets flying into Syria's northern neighbor.

Reuters television footage showed a rebel tearing down the Syrian flag on top of what appeared to be a Syrian customs building at the Tel Abyad frontier gate.


"I can confirm that the gate has fallen. It is under the complete control of the rebels," a Turkish official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

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Minutes earlier, sporadic gunfire had echoed around the area and black smoke had risen from parts of the building.

Rebels could be seen celebrating on top of the customs building, with one firing his gun into the air. There was no sign of any Syrian government troops at the crossing.

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The clashes, which started late on Tuesday, were the first time insurgents fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had tried to seize a border zone in Syria's al-Raqqa province, most of which has remained solidly pro-Assad.

Rebels hold two other crossings on the northern border with Turkey. The third will strengthen their control in the north and put more pressure on Assad's army as the two sides battle for control of Syria's largest city Aleppo, not far away.

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