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SYRIA: For first time, rebels at summit

Syria's opposition took over the country's seat for the first time at an Arab summit Tuesday in a diplomatic triumph marred by severe divisions in the ranks of the Western-backed opposition alliance. The opposition's ascension to representing the country at the summit in Qatar, a key backer of those fighting to topple President Bashar Assad, demonstrated the extent of the regime's isolation two years into a ferocious civil war that the UN says has killed an estimated 70,000 people. In Damascus, the government blasted the Arab League's decision Tuesday, portraying it as a selling-out of Arab identity to please Israel and the United States. The Qatari ruler, who chaired the summit, said the Syrian opposition deserves "this representation because of the popular legitimacy they have won at home and the broad support they won abroad and the historic role they have assumed in leading the revolution and preparing for building the new Syria."

MEXICO: Gunfight body count uncertain

Heavy gunfire echoed along the main thoroughfare and across several neighborhoods in a firefight that lasted for hours, leaving perforated and burned vehicles scattered across the border city of Reynosa. Social media exploded with reports of dozens dead. Witnesses saw at least 12. But the hours of intense gun battles in Reynosa on March 10 gave way to an official body count the next day of a head-scratching two. The men who handle the city's dead insist the real figure is upward of 35, probably even more than 50.

FRANCE: Kerry in Paris to discuss Syria

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Paris for talks with French officials about aid to the Syrian opposition and the situation in Mali. Kerry arrived in the French capital Tuesday on the last leg of a five-nation trip that also took him to Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan with President Barack Obama and then on his own to Iraq and Afghanistan. He will see the French foreign minister Wednesday. France is one of several European nations that would like to send military aid to the Syrian rebels. It has been urging the United States to boost its assistance.


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