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Top Rebel Commander Flees Syria

As Syria's Islamist groups strengthen, the highest-ranking Western-backed rebel commander, Gen. Salim Idris of the Free Syrian Army, apparently fled to Turkey on Wednesday. His escape comes after the Islamic Front, a recent merger of the largest Islamist groups excluding those with al Qaeda links, seized warehouses of military gear, offices, and a border crossing over the weekend. The move prompted the U.S. and Britain to immediately freeze nonlethal military aid to Syria. American officials are trying to coax him back to Syria and are holding direct talks with the Islamic Front before the Jan. 22 peace talks in Geneva.