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WORLD: Syrian unrest intensifies

Syrian unrest intensifies

BEIRUT -- Thousands of elite troops led by Syrian President Bashar Assad's brother converged Wednesday on a restive northern area, and neighboring villages warned that the convoys of tanks were approaching, a resident and a Syrian activist said.

Syrian forces have lost control of large areas of the northern province, a pro-government newspaper reported, in a rare acknowledgment of cracks in the regime's tight grip after weeks of protest calling for an end to its 40-year rule.

The separate reports raised the prospect of more bloodshed in Syria's nationwide crackdown on the 11-week revolt. The region borders Turkey, which said Wednesday it would open the border to Syrians fleeing violence.

Gadhafi shells rebel city

TRIPOLI, Libya -- Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, increasingly cornered under a stunning upturn in NATO airstrikes, lashed back with renewed shelling of the western city of Misrata Wednesday, killing 10 rebel fighters.

The international alliance said it remained determined to keep pounding Gadhafi forces from the air, but would play no military role in the transition to democratic rule in oil-rich North African country once the erratic leader's 42-year rule was ended.

In Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Gadhafi's days in power were clearly numbered.

Woman, 96, admits to '46 murder of man

AMSTERDAM -- A murder mystery has been solved -- 65 years later -- with the confession of a 96-year-old woman.

The 1946 killing of Felix Gulje, the head of a construction company who at the time was being considered for a high political post, roiled the Netherlands, and the failure to find the assassin became a point of contention among political parties.

On Wednesday, the mayor of Leiden, Henri Lenferink, said a woman has confessed to the killing, saying it happened in the mistaken belief that Gulje had collaborated with the Nazis.

Lenferink said he received a letter from the woman, whom he identified as Atie Ridder-Visser, on Jan. 1. Two subsequent interviews with her and a review of historical archives persuaded him that her story was true.