Syrian opposition visits Deraa in challenge to Assad

By REUTERS
August 8, 2013 19:00




AMMAN- Jordan let a Syrian opposition leader cross into Syria from its territory for the first time on Thursday, signalling greater backing from an Arab ally for the opposition battling against President Bashar Assad.

The president of the opposition Syrian National Coalition crossed into Syria to attended Eid al-Fitr holiday prayers at a mosque in the contested border province of Deraa.

The brief visit of Ahmad Jarba to Tel Shehab, which would likely have required approval from Jordanian authorities, was seen by Syrian opposition sources as reflecting a shift in Amman towards more public support for Assad's opponents.

Fearing that Assad could be replaced by Islamist militants, Jordan has maintained diplomatic and security channels open with Syrian authorities while backing units of the moderate rebel Free Syria Army operating in Deraa, birthplace of the uprising against four decades of Assad family rule.


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