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Activists say local leader of al-Qaida-linked group killed in Syria fighting

Activists say that the Kuwaiti commander of an al-Qaida-linked group was killed while fighting government troops and Hezbollah fighters inside Syria.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says Abu Azzam al-Kuwaiti, a leader of the Nusra Front, was killed late Friday in fighting around the western town of Yabroud.

Amer al-Qalamouni, an activist in the area, and the Observatory said Saturday al-Kuwaiti was a key mediator for the release of a dozen nuns held by rebels earlier this week.

His death came as Syrian forces and Hezbollah fighters advanced in Yabroud amid heavy fighting.

Yabroud is the last major rebel-held town in the mountainous Qalamoun region, where government forces have been waging an offensive for months to try to sever rebel supply lines across the porous border into Lebanon.