49 Syrian and Iraqi Troops Killed in Border Ambush
Fears increase that civil war will spill over into Iraq
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2013 1:20 PM CST
An Iraqi soldier stands guard in al-Walid border crossing, west of Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, July 21, 2012.   (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

(Newser) – At least 42 Syrian soldiers and seven Iraqi soldiers were killed in an ambush near a border crossing in Iraq today, sharpening fears that Syria's civil war could spill into Iraq and destabilize the region, the AP reports. The Syrian soldiers (Reuters reports the group also included government employees) had sought refuge in Iraq after the Syrian side of the border crossing was seized by the opposition; the group was being escorted back into Syria when they were attacked with bombs, rocket-propelled grenades, and guns.

The identities of the gunmen aren't known, but officials have accused al-Qaeda in Iraq of planning the ambush, since Syrian rebels were unlikely to have been able to cross the border and carry out the attack. Sporadic clashes between the Syrian army and the opposition have been reported near the Rabiya border crossing, where the Syrian soldiers initially sought refuge, and a number of Syrians have sought refuge in Iraq. Officials have been concerned about the violence spilling over into Iraq for some time; on Friday a rocket reportedly hit Iraq from Syria, but no injuries were reported.

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Showing 3 of 10 comments
Mar 4, 2013 3:37 PM CST
if you believe osama's direct words. he attacked the US on 911 because we did not control israel from assassinating palestinians. what would be the motivation of alqueda shifting to the dethroning of an arab leader and not attack israel? because alqueda is not fighting assad. false flags to mask israel and western backed rebels crossing the iraq border: cause and effect
Mar 4, 2013 1:49 PM CST
iraqi soldiers, american surrogates, feeding the rebel cause. nothing more. assad said, there will be a price for helping my enemies
Mar 4, 2013 1:26 PM CST
Please, America, let these idiots annihilate themselves without us being involved