Syria Rebels Tied to Al Qaeda Play Key Role in War

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BAGHDAD — The lone Syrian rebel group with an explicit stamp of approval from Al Qaeda has become one of the uprising’s most effective fighting forces, posing a stark challenge to the United States and other countries that want to support the rebels but not Islamic extremists. Multimedia Video Feature Aleppo Attack Kills 16 at Start of Internet Blackout Related Rebel Groups in Syria Make Framework for Military (December 8, 2012) Amid Battles in Suburbs, Syrian Rebels Warn Travelers to Avoid Damascus Airport (December 8, 2012) Aid Group Hit by Car Bomb in Damascus (December 7, 2012) Connect With Us on Twitter Follow @nytimesworld for international breaking news and headlines….

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U.S.-Russia ties once again strained

MOSCOW — U.S.-Russia ties have again plunged into acrimony amid disputes ranging from disagreement on to Russian President ‘s clampdown on dissent. A U.S. bill intended to lift Cold War-era trade restrictions but also containing sanctions against Russian officials accused of rights abuses has become the latest flash point, with […]