Syrian rebels make slow headway in south

By REUTERS
January 31, 2013 09:27

AMMAN - The revolt against President Bashar Assad first flared in Deraa, but the southern border city now epitomizes the bloody stalemate gripping Syria after 22 months of violence and 60,000 dead.

Jordan next door has little sympathy with Assad, but is wary of spillover from the upheaval in its bigger neighbor. It has tightened control of its 370-km (230-mile) border with Syria, partly to stop Islamist fighters or weapons from crossing.

That makes things tough for Assad's enemies in the Hawran plain, traditionally one of Syria's most heavily militarism regions, where the army has long been deployed to defend the southern approaches to Damascus from any Israeli threat.


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