Syria fires into Jordan, sparking clashes

Syria moves its Golan Heights brigade to the Jordanian border

Syrian refugees at Zaatari Refugee Camp in Mafraq, Jordan, in early September (photo credit: AP/Mohammad Hannon)
Syrian refugees at Zaatari Refugee Camp in Mafraq, Jordan, in early September (photo credit: AP/Mohammad Hannon)

The armed forces of Syria and Jordan clashed Saturday after Syria fired into Jordanian territory, where thousands of refugees have fled from an 18-month-long civil war between the Bashar Assad regime and opposition fighters.

According to a report by Al Jazeera, the Syrian army has moved its Unit 61 brigade — whose main function is to block any possible attack from Israel — from the Golan Heights to the Jordanian border.

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In recent months, attacks by the Syrian military on the border region with Jordan have intensified, as part of an effort to stem the flow of refugees into the neighboring kingdom.

Syrian activists said rebels and government troops fought a fierce battle in the area, that lasted for several hours, overnight Friday.

The activists said the fighting in and around the Syrian border town of Nasib continued until dawn Saturday.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that there were casualties on both sides, without giving figures.

Mohammed Abu Houran, an activist in the area, says the rebels first attacked an air defense base near Nasib, and as they were withdrawing they clashed with Syrian border guards.

Nasib is in the southern province of Daraa, where the uprising against Assad’s regime began in March last year.

Syrian rebel forces on Friday night attacked a Lebanese Army base near the Syrian border, Israel Radio reported. The Lebanese Army stated that there were no casualties in the incident near Arsal. The army mobilized forces to the area and pursued the assailants who fled into Lebanon.

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This was the second reported incident of Syrian rebels penetrating into Lebanon in the past week. The Lebanese Army said in a statement that it is determined to defend its sovereignty and will not allow any group to drag it into events occurring in other countries.

The uprising-turned-civil war has claimed the lives of nearly 30,000 people, activists say.

In related news, Syrian rebels reportedly shot down a military plane over the Idlib region in northern Syria.

Reuters cited witnesses who said opposition forces had used anti-aircraft fire to bring down the plane during an attack on a local military base near the city of Atarib.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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