Wed, August 15, 2012
World

Syrian troops make progress on ground, activists say rebels control border point

2012-08-15 19:52:05 GMT2012-08-16 03:52:05(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

DAMASCUS, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Syria's state media said the troops on Wednesday clashed with and inflicted heavy losses on the insurgents in a number of areas as activists reported the rebels took over a border crossing with Turkey.

The state-run SANA news agency said army units clashed Wednesday with armed groups at the Siaf al-Dawla district of the northern Aleppo province, killing many of them and destroying two pick-up trucks equipped with machine guns.

The state agency said clashes have also taken place in the Busra al-Sham area in southern Daraa province, during which a rebels' leader was killed.

Meanwhile, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the rebels have taken over the Bab al-Hawa border crossing near the northwestern province of Idlib.

A footage appeared online purported to show a number of killed Syrian troops at the border crossing. The Observatory said the dead troops were killed in the nearby town of Sarmada on Tuesday.

Other activists also reported the army bombardment on the Aleppo area of Azaz, adding that a number of people were killed due to the shelling.

The activists account couldn't be checked.

Earlier in the day, an explosive device affixed to a diesel truck went off in a military garage in the Syrian army staff headquarters in Damascus, causing three non-fatal injuries.

Following the blast, clashes erupted between armed rebels and government troops at the Kafar Souseh and al-Razi orchards near the cabinet building.

Sources said that the cabinet building was hit with an RPG shell, while the nearby Iranian embassy sustained a number of stray bullets due to the clashes.

While the violence ratchets up, Syria's Minister of Interior Mohammad al-Shaar stressed Wednesday that the ministry will keep an eye till the terrorism is totally eradicated in Syria, adding that the Syrian troops will not waiver in hunting down the "armed terrorist groups."

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