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Syria-Turkey Crossing Ceded to Leading Opposition Group

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Syrian National Coalition assumes control of key border crossing linking Azaz to Turkey’s Kilis province.

Control of Syria’s Bab al-Salameh border crossing with Turkey was handed over on Tuesday to the opposition Syrian National Coalition (SNC), which also operates as an interim Syrian government, according to SNC officials.

SNC head Jawad Abu Hatab told Anadolu Agency that the Turkish military -- along with opposition fighters -- had aided in the handover of the crossing (known in Turkish as the Oncupinar crossing), which links Syria’s northern city of Azaz to Turkey’s southern Kilis province.

Abu Hatab, who since May of last year has served as prime minister of Syria’s opposition interim government, said the SNC hoped to eventually assume control of other crossings along Syria’s 900-kilometer border with Turkey.

According to Abu Hatab, control of the strategic border crossing was handed over to the SNC on Tuesday by the Fateh al-Sham Front (previously known as the Nusra Front), an armed group known to be close to the opposition interim government.

Front spokesman Abu al-Bara al-Shami told Anadolu Agency that, along with the Bab al-Salameh crossing, Azaz’s Abdul-Qader Saleh military academy had also been handed over to the SNC.

Since 2011, Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war pitting the Assad regime -- along with allies Russia, Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah -- against a plethora of armed opposition groups, several of which enjoy overt foreign support.

According to UN figures, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the years-long conflict and millions more displaced.



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