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Syrian forces take eastern city of Deir al-Zour after local rebels quit fighting
BEIRUT (AP) ' An anti-regime activist says the Syrian army has taken control of the eastern city of Deir el-Zour following brief clashes with rebel forces.
Osama Mansour says Syrian troops backed by tanks and armored cars entered the city from four sides Tuesday and briefly clashed with fighters from the Free Syrian Army.
Mansour, who is based in Deir el-Zour, says the rebels quit fighting and hid in local homes, fearing that protracted clashes would destroy the city and kill civilians.
The year-old uprising against autocratic President Bashar Assad has become increasingly militarized with many in the opposition taking up arms to protect their towns and attack regime forces.
The U.N. says more than 8,000 people have been killed.
Activist claims could not be independently verified.