'Syrian army planting mines along Jordanian border'

Assad government trying to prevent civilians in Deraa, city of Ramtha, from escaping deteriorating security situation, 'Al Ghad' reports.

November 17, 2011 18:13
2 minute read.
Syrian soldiers (illustrative)

Syrian soldiers gather near Deraa_311. (photo credit: Reuters)


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The Syrian army planted landmines at the border with Jordan in order to "restrict Syrians access to humanitarian asylum in Jordan," a week after reports that Syria was laying explosives on the border with Lebanon as well, Jordanian daily Al Ghad reported Wednesday.

Syria was laying mines on its border with the Hashemite Kingdom in order to prevent Syrian evacuees from the Deraa governate and the city of Ramtha from entering Jordan, according to an informed source speaking on condition of anonymity to Al Ghad.

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"[Syrians] are fleeing the deteriorating security situation in their country," the source said according to Al Ghad.

Tensions between Jordan and Syria have hit a low since King Abdullah II called on Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down, and Syrian activists loyal to their president stormed the Jordanian mission in Damascus.

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Abdullah's comments came after at least 40 Syrians were killed in fighting on Monday between forces loyal to Assad and insurgents in a town near the border with Jordan, local activists said, in the first case of major armed resistance to Assad in the region.

The Syrian army has also laid mines on its border with Lebanon, according to local Lebanese officials and witnesses.

One man, Emad Khaled al-Awsheh, was heading back from Syria into Lebanon when he stepped on an explosive, blowing off part of his leg, according to Reuters. The incident took place at Huwaishat on the Syrian side of the border, neighboring northern Lebanon.

Syria may be trying to control the mass exodus of its citizens while Assad and forces loyal to him continue a crackdown on separatist elements and anti-regime protesters that has claimed the lives of more than 3,500 Syrians, according to Human Rights Watch.

Activists claim that Syria has been randomly placing the dangerous explosives, without regard to the villages nearby.

“To place an indiscriminate weapon near villages and places where children were previously known to frequent is absolutely unacceptable,” the mayor of the northern Lebanese village of Kneissah told Lebanon's Daily Star.

According to local officials speaking to the Star, Syria has planted mines along the length of the norther border, through disputed territory, and along Lebanon's eastern border with Syria.

More than 19,000 Syrian refugees have fled to neighboring Turkey since violence began eight months ago between forces loyal to President Bashar Assad and anti-regime activists, according to the New York Times. About 7,600 still reside in refugee camps there.

An estimated 6,000 evacuees are also living in Lebanon, according to Dubai-based Al Arabiya.

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