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In brief: Forces pursue Syrian rebels

Wed., June 15, 2011, midnight

BOYNUYOGUN, Turkey – Syrian tanks and the government’s most loyal troops pushed into more towns and villages Tuesday, trying to snuff out any chance that the uprising against President Bashar Assad could gain a base for a wider armed rebellion.

Facing the most serious threat to his family’s 40-year ruling dynasty, Assad has abandoned most pretenses of reform as his military seals off strategic areas in the north and east – including the town of Jisr al-Shughour, which was spinning out of government control before the military moved in on Sunday.

Pro-democracy activists, citing witnesses, said the military also surrounded al-Boukamal, along the Iraqi border. Activists say more than 1,400 Syrians have died and some 10,000 have been detained in the government crackdown.

Boehner presses Obama on Libya

WASHINGTON – House Speaker John Boehner urged President Barack Obama on Tuesday to explain the legal grounds for the continued U.S. military involvement in Libya and set a Friday deadline for the commander in chief’s response.

The White House said late Tuesday it was nearing completion of an “extensive” response to congressional inquiries.

Ratcheting up the pressure, the Ohio Republican said in a letter to the White House that the administration clearly will be in violation of the 1973 War Powers Act this weekend. Obama did not seek congressional consent for the operation within 60 days of the March 19 U.S. airstrikes against Moammar Gadhafi’s forces.

Attack kills nine at compound

BAGHDAD – Assailants set off a suicide car bomb and then stormed a government compound in a complex attack Tuesday, killing nine people in a former Sunni insurgent stronghold northeast of Baghdad.

The morning attack on the government compound in Baqouba matched a growing series of assaults in central Iraq this year, where insurgents strike government compounds and buildings, hoping to undermine support for the Baghdad administration by showing that even their most protected facilities are not safe.

The Baqouba assault began when a suicide bomber exploded a car bomb at the entrance to the compound, according to the commander of the Iraqi army’s 5th Division, which is in charge of Diyala province.


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