Al-Qaida-linked rebels continue offensive against Western-backed - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Al-Qaida-linked rebels continue offensive against Western-backed rebels

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 Rebels linked to al-Qaida in northern Syria are exposing the weakness of mainstream opposition groups there -- the groups that the U.S. is hoping to turn into a fighting force to take on Islamic extremists.

   The al-Qaida allies today pressed an offensive against the Western-back rebels, closing in on a vital border crossing with Turkey. The Nusra Front is a bitter rival of the Islamic State group, despite their shared extremist ideology.

   The recent surge by the Nusra Front has overrun strongholds of two prominent rebel factions that have been receiving arms and training from the United States. And the collapse of those opposition groups is a significant setback to the U.S. plan to partner with more moderate brigades in order to fight the Islamic State group and other radicals.

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