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Syrian Rebels Capture Customs Building on Turkish Border

Syrian rebels seized a customs building as fighting with government forces spread to the Turkish border, where three Turks suffered shrapnel wounds, CNN-Turk television reported.

The rebels captured the Syrian customs post today after it partially collapsed in an explosion, CNN-Turk said. The building, located just across from the Turkish border town of Akcakale, was seen intact in live video footage earlier today. Some rebels brought down the Syrian flag from a pole on the roof of the building, while others fired rifles into the air in celebration, CNN-Turk footage showed.

NTV television, without citing anyone, said 30 Syrian soldiers and six rebels were killed in the fighting. Syrian tanks were heading to the area to recapture the customs building, it added, without saying where it got the information. Some of the injured rebel fighters were taken to Akcakale for treatment, NTV said.

The rebels have been trying to oust President Bashar al-Assad since March 2011 in fighting that has left more than 26,400 people dead, according to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Turkey, a former Assad ally, has backed the uprising, allowing the opposition to operate from Turkish territory as well as providing shelter for refugees.

Three Turkish citizens, including a mother and her one-year-old child, were wounded in Akcakale last night after gunshots were fired across the border, Turkey’s state-run Anatolia agency said today. CNN-Turk said clashes broke out when Syrian forces attempted to seize the customs building yesterday.

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