SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

April 12, 2014

Syria death toll from rebel infighting rises to 68

(Continued)

The video appeared genuine and corresponded to other Associated Press reporting of the events.

Meanwhile, Syria’s state news agency SANA said yesterday that authorities liberated an Austrian lawyer identified as Anton Sander, whom it said had be held by rebels in the central city of Homs for the past four months.

SANA said Sander was in Homs visiting friends when he was taken by opposition fighters. It said he recently fled from his captors and was able to flee the neighborhood with the help of authorities.

SANA published several photographs of Sander showing what it described as injuries from torture on his back.

Syria’s uprising, which began with largely peace protests in March 2011, has evolved into a civil war with sectarian overtones.

Islamic extremists, including foreign fighters and Syrian rebels who have taken up hard-line al-Qaida-style ideologies, have played an increasingly prominent role among fighters, dampening the West’s support for the rebellion to overthrow Assad.

That has led to a backlash by Islamic brigades and more moderate rebels who have launched a war against the Islamic State. Fighting between opposing rebel groups has killed more than 4,000 people since the beginning of the year, activists say.

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