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Division grows in U.S.-backed anti-Assad coalition as key group is expelled

REYHANLI, Turkey — The Syrian opposition, already divided deeply over a shakeup of its top military staff, formally has split with one of its most important political components, the Syrian National Council, adding to a growing leadership crisis in the group that has been the Obama administration's primary Syrian ally.

The breakdown among the so-called moderate opposition comes as the Syrian government presses an aggressive bombing campaign over rebel-held areas of Aleppo and an al-Qaida-inspired group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, continues to challenge other rebels for primacy in northern Syria.

On Thursday, suspected ISIS members detonated a suicide bomb at a tent camp at the Bab al-Salama border crossing with Turkey, killing 24 people, according to Turkish news reports. The car bombing came just days after ISIS captured a village less than a mile from the crossing and fired rockets near the camp.

The two-front war — against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad and ISIS — looks to be all the greater challenge for the Syrian opposition after deep splits that appeared this week over who's in charge of the fighting forces.

Division grows in U.S.-backed anti-Assad coalition as key group is expelled 02/20/14 [Last modified: Thursday, February 20, 2014 11:30pm]
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