News / Middle East

Rebels Claim Army Post Near Syria's Southern Border

Free Syrian Army fighters head toward the frontline in a convoy, where clashes with forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad are taking place, in Idlib, April 3, 2013.Free Syrian Army fighters head toward the frontline in a convoy, where clashes with forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad are taking place, in Idlib, April 3, 2013.
x
Free Syrian Army fighters head toward the frontline in a convoy, where clashes with forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad are taking place, in Idlib, April 3, 2013.
Free Syrian Army fighters head toward the frontline in a convoy, where clashes with forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad are taking place, in Idlib, April 3, 2013.

Location

M20, Syria
Reuters
Syrian rebels said they overran an army garrison that defends the main southern border crossing with Jordan on Friday and vowed to press on to take control of the major transit route.

Fighters from the Free Syrian Army said they captured the Um al-Mayathen post on the main Damascus-Jordan highway in heavy fighting overnight that ended a siege that lasted more than a week. Dozens died in the clashes they said.

"It [the garrison] is a major defense and now we will lay siege to the border crossing and cut their [the Damascus government's] supply lines," said Abu Omar, commander of the Lions of the Sunna Brigade, by phone.

The army post is several kilometers from Syria's Nassib border crossing which, before Syria's two-year-old civil war broke out, funneled billions of dollars of trade between Gulf countries, Turkey and Europe.

Fierce fighting in border provinces

Syria's southern provinces bordering Jordan and Israel have become an increasingly significant battleground as the capital comes under pressure, with President Bashar al-Assad's forces and his loyalist militias hitting back hard.

The intensified fighting has also led to an unprecedented influx of refugees through Jordan's 370 km (230 mile) border with Syria this year.

Rebels have stepped up fighting for control of the border area and the nearby town of Deraa in the last two months, gaining territory and capturing several bases.

They also have overrun several towns near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, increasing tensions in the sensitive military zone.

Gaining momentum

Only two weeks ago they seized an air defense base near the strategic southern international highway, bolstering access to supply routes to the capital Damascus.

Rebels say their capture of large amounts of weapons, ammunition and vehicles has helped them to maintain an offensive after a long period in which the southern border area was quiet compared to northern and eastern parts of Syria.

"The latest gains have given us more weapons, helping the free army to mount even more attacks on key army positions," said Abu Salim, from Liwa Tawheed al Janoob brigade.

Jordan has stepped up security and deployed more troops to the border, a Jordanian army source said.

Diplomatic and regional intelligence sources also said Amman was allowing limited supplies of light arms to moderate rebel groups opposed to the Nusra front, an Islamist militant group suspected of links to al Qaida and blacklisted by the United States as a "terrorist group."

  • People walking down a street are pictured through a hole in a building in Deir al-Zor, Syria, April 4, 2013.
  • People ride a motorcycle past a damaged car in Deir al-Zor, Syria, April 4, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters head towards the frontline in a convoy, Idlib, Syria, April 3, 2013.
  • Smoke rises after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Homs, April 1, 2013.
  • Women members of the Al-Ikhlas (Loyalty) Battalion rest with their weapons in Aleppo, Syria, March 31, 2013.
  • A man prays at the grave of a Free Syrian Army fighter at a cemetery at al-Karak al-Sharqi in Deraa, Syria, March 30, 2013.
  • Residents gather outside a bakery to buy bread in al-Harak city, Deraa, Syria, March 27, 2013.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid