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Syria rankles Turkey, Israel

Nov. 12, 2012 at 5:45 PM   |   Comments

RAS AL-AIN, Syria, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Syria bombed a rebel-held village near the Turkish border and provoked Israeli tanks into an artillery fight, Turkish and Israeli officials said.

The military actions pulled both countries closer to entanglements in the Syrian civil war, The New York Times reported, adding the incidents came as Syrian opposition announced a broad unity pact, hailed by foreign powers, aimed at toppling Syrian President Bashar Assad.

"It's a big day for the Syrian opposition," wrote Joshua Landis, author or the widely followed Syria Comment blog. "[The] Assad regime must be worried, as it has survived for 42 years thanks to Syria's fragmentation."

The military incidents occurred Monday in Ras al-Ain, the scene of heavy fighting and a refugee crossing point into Turkey, where rockets from a Russian-built MIG-25 fighter plane killed at least 20 people and demolished at least 15 buildings, and in the Golan Heights, seized from Syria by Israel in 1967, where sporadic Syrian mortar shelling led to a direct hit by Israeli tanks on Syrian artillery units, the newspaper reported.

The U.S. State Department offered its congratulations to the anti-government Syrian forces on the formation of its coalition.

"We will work with the national coalition top ensure our humanitarian and non-lethal assistance serves the needs of the Syrians," deputy spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement Monday,

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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