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Al-Qaeda Rebels Fully Control Syrian City of Raqqa

Updated on March 14, 2013

In another sign that President's Assad military is slowly losing their abilities to defend, the city of Raqqa, some 500,000 people, fell to the complete control of the al-Nusra combat group, which is frequently linked to al-Qaeda. This is notable for Aleppo is still up for grabs and has been for months, but Raqqa, which is much farther east, has totally fallen to them.

The Rebels are conducting mass public killings of any Syrian soldiers or security persons found. While most of the residents are not longer around, those that have stayed have found some normality. Al-Nusra has secured enough flour for bread to make it only 20 cents per bag, before Raqqa's fall, it was $2 a bag. The market has also reopened among the rubble and debris. Al-Nusra has also opened a hotline for callers to phone in problems.

Syrian forces have bombarded the the city from afar but it seems Assad is willing to let this city be under total rebel control. Only 240,000 people are now living there.

International powers are divided over Syria, with Russia and Shiite Iran supporting their historical ally Assad and the United States and Sunni Gulf countries backing the opposition.

While al-Nusra faction is Islamist, so far, they have not enforced the stricter law. At this stage, they are trying to win the minds and hearts of the locals by rebuilding and providing basic services.

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