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Syrian Rebels Kill Pro-Government Cleric

A man mourns relatives who died at a site hit by what activists say was an government air strike in Daiaat Al-Ansari neighborhood in Aleppo Mar. 30, 2013.
Syrian rebel forces have killed a pro-government Sunni cleric in the northern city of Aleppo and reportedly mutilated his body.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Syrian state media reported Saturday that Sheikh Hassan Seifeddine, the imam of a mosque in northern Aleppo, was killed by rebels during heavy fighting in the neighborhood of Sheikh Maqsoud. The observatory says the rebels then paraded the cleric's body around the neighborhood.

The latest brutality comes just days after a suicide bomber blew himself up in an ancient Damascus mosque, killing pro-government cleric Mohammed al-Buti. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad vowed Friday to purge his country of extremists blamed for that attack, which killed about 50 people.

Extremists have been playing a bigger role among rebel groups recently in Syria as the two-year uprising drags on with no sign of ending.