Twin bombings kill 39 in Syria
Two bombings in Syria have killed at least 39 people in the latest surge in violence, while al-Qaeda-linked fighters tighten their grip on a border town near Turkey after killing fighters from the main opposition armed group.
Activists said 20 people were killed on Thursday in a car bombing of a government building in the town of Zamalka, near the capital Damascus.
Elsewhere in Syria, a roadside bomb struck a bus in a village in the central Homs province, killing 19 people, according to a local government official.
The village is predominantly Alawite, an offshoot of Shia Islam and a minority sect to which President Bashar al-Assad belongs, but it also has Christians and Sunni Muslims.
The bombings came a day after al-Qaeda-linked fighters captured a town near the Turkish border in the north of Syria. An activist group said on Thursday that the town changed hands after heavy clashes between the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters who controlled the area.
It was the latest development in what has been a relatively new component in the conflict: growing infighting between fighters with ties to al-Qaeda and Western-backed opposition groups.
Turkey has temporarily shut its border post after the gun battles.
The US and its European and Gulf Arab allies are increasingly concerned about the rising prominence of al-Qaeda-linked groups among the fighters, who have been playing a major role in the battles against Assad's forces.