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svgadminsvgAugust 10, 2012svgNews

Clashes Break Out Between Jordanian and Syrian Troops

Fighting involving armored vehicles broke out on Friday between Jordanian and Syrian troops at a border region that has been used as a passage for refugees fleeing Syria, a Syrian opposition activist who witnessed the incident told Reuters.

The fighting occurred in the Tel Shihab-Turra area after a number of Syrian refugees attempted to cross into Jordan, the activist said.

A Jordanian source later confirmed that fighting broke out between Jordanian and Syrian forces in the Tel Shehab-Turra border region, but said there appeared to have been no Jordanian deaths.

“The Syrian side fired across the border and fighting ensued. Initial reports indicate that there has been no one killed from the Jordanian side,” said the source, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile on Friday, Syria accused Israel, the United States, Saudi Arabia and Qatar of running military operation centers in Turkey to support the rebels by overseeing battles in Syria’s 17-month conflict.

In a letter to the UN Security Council, Syrian UN Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari also again blamed Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia of “harboring, funding and arming the armed terrorist groups.”

“Turkey has established within its territory military operations centers that are run by the intelligence services of Israel, the United States, Saudi Arabia and Qatar,” Ja’afari wrote in the letter dated August 2 and which Reuters published on Friday.

“Those centers are being used to oversee battles that are being waged by the terrorists against Syrian citizens in Aleppo and other Syrian cities and the massacres the terrorists are perpetrating after entering Syria in large numbers,” he said.

“Those shedding tears over what is occurring in Aleppo and demanding that the Security Council should be convened are the very same parties that caused the tragedy through their support of terrorism and arming of terrorist groups,” Ja’afari said.

He said the United States, France, Britain and Turkey were leading a campaign “to alter the balance in the region and force its countries to comply with the hegemonic policies and bend to the will of those Western states.”

Ja’afari called on the UN Security Council to pressure those countries to stop supporting, arming and funding the rebels and facilitating their operations.

Last week it was reported that President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing U.S. support for rebels seeking to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government.

According to the report, Obama’s order, approved earlier this year and known as an intelligence “finding,” broadly permits the CIA and other U.S. agencies to provide support that could help the rebels oust Assad.

The head of the UN peacekeeping department has confirmed that Syria’s rebels have heavy weapons, although he said the United Nations had no proof the opposition had used them against government forces.

Assad, meanwhile, won a pledge of support this week from his regional ally Iran. He was shown on television meeting Saeed Jalili, head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.

Jalilli said Iran would not let its close partnership with the Syrian leadership to be shaken by the uprising or external foes.

The meeting came a day after Assad’s prime minister Riyad Hijab fled to Jordan and declared, “As of today, I am a soldier of the Free Syrian Army.”

Jordan confirmed Hijab’s asylum, but the Syrian regime immediately announced that he was fired, two months after he was appointed.

Hijab’s defection was one of the most high profile desertions from President Bashar al-Assad’s political and military circles. On Sunday, Al Arabiya television reported that a senior Syrian intelligence officer had also defected to Jordan.

The White House said that the defection of Syria’s prime minister showed that Assad’s government was “crumbling from within.”

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