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Syria's Raqa under total rebel control: watchdog

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Syria's northern city of Raqa came under total rebel control Wednesday, two days into battles with troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad's regime over the army's last bastion there, a watchdog said.

"Raqa city is now out of the army's control, after military intelligence troops surrendered to rebels following fierce clashes that raged for two days," Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

"It is the first provincial capital out of regime control," he added.

On Monday, rebels overran most of Raqa city in their most stunning advance since the outbreak of the anti-regime revolt in March 2011.

Earlier on Wednesday, rebels also broke into a political intelligence complex, setting free an unknown number of detainees, said the Observatory.

The Observatory, meanwhile, said it was concerned over the fate of "hundreds" of pro-regime fighters and troops who surrendered to the rebels after the military intelligence branch's fall.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130306/syrias-raqa-under-total-rebel-control-watchdog