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Assad pursues withering campaign against rebels

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian President Bashar Assad is taking advantage of the U. S. -led coalition's war against the Islamic State group to pursue a withering air and ground campaign against more mainstream rebels elsewhere in the country, trying to recapture areas considered more crucial to the survival of his government. As U. S. and allied jets swoop freely over towns and cities under control of extremists in northern Syria, the Syrian army has scaled back its air activity over areas of IS a...

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