Syrian, Jordanian troops clash near border
Published Saturday, August 11, 2012
Fighting broke out between Jordanian and Syrian forces in a border region between the two countries late on Friday, but a Jordanian source said no one on Jordan's side appeared to have been killed.
It was the most serious incident between the two countries since the uprising in Syria against President Bashar al-Assad began 17 months ago.
A Syrian opposition activist who witnessed the fighting said armoured vehicles were involved in the clash in the Tel Shihab-Turra area, about 80 kilometers north of the Jordanian capital Amman, that occurred after Syrian refugees tried to cross into Jordan.
"The Syrians fired into Jordan at 10.30 p.m. in pursuit of refugees and the Jordanians responded. The fighting escalated and Jordanian armored vehicles hit two Syrian border guard outposts," said the activist, giving his name only as Abdallah.
"The fighting was intense for an hour and now it is intermittent," he said.
A Jordanian source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: "The Syrian side fired across the border and fighting ensued. Initial reports indicate that there has been no one killed from the Jordanian side."
Tens of thousands of Syrians have crossed into Jordan since the start of the uprising.
Elsewhere clashes continued in the Syrian city of Aleppo, though government forces appeared to be in control of a number of areas that had previously been rebel strongholds.
The Salaheddine district in southwestern Aleppo, where hundreds of armed rebels had based themselves until they withdrew last Thursday, was largely under the control of government forces.
But rebel commander Hossam Abu Mohammed said his men were still fighting in parts of Salaheddine despite the majority of his allies fleeing.
"We will not let Salaheddin go," Abu Mohammed told AFP by telephone on the third day of a government offensive to take the city.
AFP correspondents said around a dozen people were killed and 20 wounded at a bakery in the eastern Tariq al-Bab district of the northern city when it was hit by a shell.
State news agency SANA reported that troops had repelled a rebel attack on Aleppo's international airport. "Mercenary terrorists" had tried to attack it but the "army hit back and killed most of them."
The violence raged on as world powers prepared to name veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi as their new envoy to seek an end to a 17-month uprising that has cost more than 21,000 lives.
(Al-Akhbar, AFP, Reuters)