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Nearly 500 dead after week of rebel clashes in Syria

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BEIRUT, Lebanon — Rebel-on-rebel fighting between an al-Qaida-linked group and an array of more moderate and ultraconservative Islamists has killed nearly 500 people over the past week in northern Syria, an activist group said today, in the most serious bout of violence among opponents of President Bashar Assad since the civil war began.

The clashes, which pit fighters from a variety of Islamist and mainstream factions against the al-Qaida linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, have spread across four provinces in opposition-held parts of the north. The infighting has overshadowed the battle against the government, which in recent months has clawed back some of the ground it has lost to the rebels.

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