Syria army, militants clash near Turkey

Syria army, militants clash near Turkey

Sat, 22 Mar 2014 22:40:29 GMT

Heavy clashes have broken out between soldiers of the Syrian army and foreign-backed militants near a border crossing with Turkey close to the Mediterranean.

The fighting, which continued since Friday, was underway around Kassab crossing and a nearby village on Saturday.

The crossing, which is a gateway to the coastal province of Latakia, has been under the government’s control since the start of the Syrian crisis.

The attack on Kassab was carried out by militants from the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front and the Ahrar ash-Sham brigade.

Syrian authorities accuse Turkey of helping the militants launch attacks on Kassab from the Turkish territory, blaming Ankara for providing cover for the assaults.

Earlier in the day, several militants were killed in an army ambush near the capital Damascus. The militants were reportedly members of the al-Nusra Front.

Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since 2011.

Over 130,000 people have been killed and millions displaced due to the violence fueled by Western-backed militants.

The Western powers and their regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey — are reportedly supporting the militants operating inside Syria.

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