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Syrian regime bombs rebel-held city, killing 14

BEIRUT — Syrian government airstrikes killed at least 14 people in the northern province of Raqqa less than a week after rebels seized the area’s provincial capital, activists said Sunday.

Also, the UN’s top official for refugee affairs said the number of people fleeing Syria could triple this year if the war does not end.

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The city of Raqqa, home to a half million people before the uprising against President Bashar Assad began two years ago, could prove a test case for how rebels administer areas they capture.

The rebel groups that led the battle for the city are made up largely of conservative Muslims, some of them extremists, and videos released over the weekend indicate some fighters have killed captured soldiers.

Recent government airstrikes have shown the limits of rebel control. Even if they hold the ground, they can do little about the government’s air force, which often bombards areas recently captured by the rebels, killing fighters and civilians alike.

The regime regularly accuses the rebels — whom it refers to as ‘‘terrorists’’ — of attacking civilians.

Also Sunday, some of the fiercest fighting in a year was reported in Baba Amr, the neighborhood in the central city of Homs that stood for rebel defiance but also for the government’s ability to strike back. The Syrian military besieged Baba Amr for a month last year, killing hundreds of people, and eventually retook the area.

Rebels and regime troops clashed in Baba Amr on Sunday, accompanied by army shelling and airstrikes, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an activist group. Amateur video showed clouds of smoke above Homs.

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