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Islamist rebels retook most of a military base in northern Syria from forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday after two days of fighting in which at least 60 people have been killed, a monitoring group said. The heavy fighting reflects the strategic importance of the 80th Brigade army base, a few hundred meters (yards) from Aleppo airport on the eastern approaches of the disputed city. Rebels had held the site for nine months until Friday when Assad's troops, backed by heavy artillery fire and air strikes, briefly pushed them out. At least 30 journalists currently are reported missing while covering Syria's civil war. The widespread abduction of journalists is unprecedented. Many have gone unreported in hope that keeping the kidnappings out of public view may help to negotiate the captives' release. In the meantime, families sit and wait for some kind of news. Germany's center-left Social Democrats hope to reach a deal to raise taxes on the rich even though Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives are opposed. Andrea Nahles, deputy SPD leader and a likely minister in a new government, renewed the demand from the SPD's left wing even after chairman Sigmar Gabriel said it was no longer essential to raise taxes as the SPD had pledged in its election campaign.

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