Kurdish militants seized a Syrian border post on the frontier with Iraq early on Saturday, a monitoring group said, after three days of clashes with an al Qaeda-linked group which had held the crossing for more than a year.
The Yarubiya post and surrounding areas in the northeast were taken from the Islamist State of Iraq and the Levant rebel group, who had seized it from the army, The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Ethnic Kurds in Syria have a complex role in nearly three years of conflict that started when President Bashar al-Assad cracked down on a pro-democracy uprising. The ensuing war has pitted Sunni Muslims against Assad's Alawite minority and different Kurdish militia have fought for both sides, normally over territory or power disputes. World powers have failed to halt the Syrian conflict, which has killed more than 100,000 people, according to the United Nations.
Forty people died when a car bomb exploded outside a mosque in Wadi Barada, in Damascus province, on Friday, the Observatory said. State news agency SANA said many "terrorists" - a term it uses for those fighting Assad - where also killed in the explosion and quoted a witness who said the mosque's two entrances collapsed when the bomber struck before the end of Friday prayers. State TV said on Friday that the leader of the Islamist Jabhat al-Nusra, a rebel group that has claimed responsibility for several suicide bombings, had been killed. Rebels denied that Abu Mohammad al-Golani had been killed and the Observatory quoted two "senior Nusra leaders" as saying the reports were not true.