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Syria rebels fail to seize post on Jordan border: security

Children hold opposition flags during a protest against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Ghadfeh, near Idlib July 20, 2012. REUTERS/Shaam News Network/Handout

AMMAN: The rebel Free Syrian Army tried on Saturday to overrun the Nassib border with Jordan but were repulsed by Syrian government troops, a Jordanian security official told AFP.

"Opposition fighters from the Free Syrian Army tried at noon today to seize control of the Nassib border crossing but failed after confrontations with the Syrian army," the official said.

"We could hear from our side of the border the sound of gunfire and clashes on the Syrian side," he added.

His remarks came as officials in neighbouring Iraq said rebels controlled one of the three main border crossings with Syria despite shelling by the Syrian army.

And an AFP photographer said on Friday that rebels were in full control of the Bab al-Hawa border post with Turkey after seizing it from the army.

Nassib is a border crossing from the southern province of Daraa, cradle of the 16-month uprising against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Jordanian border town of Ramtha -- home to a large number of Syrian refugees -- lies on the other side of the border post.

Jordan is hosting more than 140,000 Syrians, including some 1,000 who sought refuge in Ramtha's Bashabsheh housing complex, a military-guarded compound.

The tiny kingdom is also building more camps to house the refugees.

Jordan has said it is dealing "cautiously" with developments inside Syria.

"The army and security services are acting calmly and wisely in line with the current situation," Information Minister Samih Maaytah told AFP on Friday.

Tens of thousands of Syrians have poured across the borders of neighbouring countries in recent days, with up to 30,000 fleeing into Lebanon, according to the UN refugee agency, and others seeking haven in Jordan and Turkey.

Iraqi officials have said Syrian refugees had attempted to enter Iraq but Baghdad had ordered its security forces not to allow them to do so.

 

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