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

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid