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Activists, opposition media: Syrian rebels enter strategic northwestern town in Idlib province

  • This image posted on the Twitter page of Syria's al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front on Saturday, April 25, 2015, which is consistent with AP reporting, shows Nusra Front fighters walking in the town of Jisr al-Shughour, Idlib province, Syria. Hard-line Syrian rebel groups entered the strategic town Saturday in northwestern Syria, sending government troops fleeing after intense clashes that have seen them take nearly all of a crucial province. Syria's civil war, now in its fifth year, has killed some 220,000 people, and wounded at least 1 million. (Al-Nusra Front Twitter page via AP)

    This image posted on the Twitter page of Syria's al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front on Saturday, April 25, 2015, which is consistent with AP reporting, shows Nusra Front fighters walking in the town of Jisr al-Shughour, Idlib province, Syria. Hard-line Syrian rebel groups entered the strategic town Saturday in northwestern Syria, sending government troops fleeing after intense clashes that have seen them take nearly all of a crucial province. Syria's civil war, now in its fifth year, has killed some 220,000 people, and wounded at least 1 million. (Al-Nusra Front Twitter page via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • This image posted on the Twitter page of Syria's al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front on Saturday April 25, 2015, which is consistent with AP reporting, shows Nusra Front fighters standing on their vehicles and waving their group's flags as they tour the streets of Jisr al-Shughour, Idlib province, Syria. Hard-line Syrian rebel groups entered the strategic town Saturday in northwestern Syria, sending government troops fleeing after intense clashes that have seen them take nearly all of a crucial province. (Al-Nusra Front Twitter page via AP)

    This image posted on the Twitter page of Syria's al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front on Saturday April 25, 2015, which is consistent with AP reporting, shows Nusra Front fighters standing on their vehicles and waving their group's flags as they tour the streets of Jisr al-Shughour, Idlib province, Syria. Hard-line Syrian rebel groups entered the strategic town Saturday in northwestern Syria, sending government troops fleeing after intense clashes that have seen them take nearly all of a crucial province. (Al-Nusra Front Twitter page via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • This image posted on the Twitter page of Syria's al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front on Saturday, April 25, 2015, which is consistent with AP reporting, shows Nusra Front fighters in the town of Jisr al-Shughour, Idlib province, Syria. Hard-line Syrian rebel groups entered the strategic town Saturday in northwestern Syria, sending government troops fleeing after intense clashes that have seen them take nearly all of a crucial province. Syria's civil war, now in its fifth year, has killed some 220,000 people, and wounded at least 1 million. (Al-Nusra Front Twitter page via AP)

    This image posted on the Twitter page of Syria's al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front on Saturday, April 25, 2015, which is consistent with AP reporting, shows Nusra Front fighters in the town of Jisr al-Shughour, Idlib province, Syria. Hard-line Syrian rebel groups entered the strategic town Saturday in northwestern Syria, sending government troops fleeing after intense clashes that have seen them take nearly all of a crucial province. Syria's civil war, now in its fifth year, has killed some 220,000 people, and wounded at least 1 million. (Al-Nusra Front Twitter page via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Activists and opposition media are reporting that several hard-line Syrian rebel groups have pushed their way into a strategic town in northwestern Syria following intense clashes that lasted only days.

Opposition television station Orient News reported Saturday from inside the town of Jisr al-Shughour in Idlib province. Rebel fighters from Islamic factions, including the al-Qaida-affiliated Nusra Front, appeared to be milling in the town's central square, raising their black flag. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also said the rebels are in control of large parts of the town.

Syrian state television quoted a military official saying the army is still in intense clashes there.

Jisr al-Shughour is a strategic town west of the city of Idlib, the provincial capital which fell to rebels less than a month ago.