Rebels say take army post near Syria's southern border

AMMAN Fri Apr 5, 2013 6:02pm EDT

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AMMAN (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," Abu Omar, commander of the Lions of the Sunna Brigade, told Reuters by phone.

The army post is several kilometers (miles) 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.

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

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 Qaeda and blacklisted by the United States as a "terrorist group".

(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Jon Hemming)

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Comments (3)
The Islamic extremist Nusra front will become Syria’s new government . Everybody from their Arab oil allies and arms suppliers like Saudi Arabia and Qatar should be shuddering at what they unleashed and will ultimately overthrow the Fascist sheiks, as should Turkey, Israel, Israel and the United States, all of which will lose political and social ground.
Only the Kurds and emerging power Kurdistan will benefit from the mayhem, and become the Ottomans of the near future. Blessed be the meek, as they say. Via Kurdistan.

Apr 05, 2013 2:55pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
kenradke11 wrote:
Way to go Free Syrian Army….God be with you and spare your defenses and get that bastard Assad…Its time to clean up men!

Apr 05, 2013 3:39pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Slammy wrote:
@RudyHaugender
If you have watched a lot of the battlefield videos you might notice that the fighters around Aleppo, Idlib and Eastern/Iraqi area wear many more beards than the fighters in Homs and south thereto. Although there seems to be a strong Islamic presence it does not appear universal across the country. Have hope, have faith and pray that this conflict can end once and for all without another civil war or a failed quasi Islamic state emerging in the vacuum. I personally think the people of Syria are too use to the secular life to allow radical militants to have their run of the place.

Apr 05, 2013 4:54pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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