Al-Qaida claims killing 48 Syrian soldiers in Iraq

An Al-Qaeda affiliated group in Iraq has claimed responsibility for last week's killing of 48 Syrian soldiers and nine Iraqi guards in western Anbar province.

The group said on Monday its fighters were monitoring the movements of the soldiers as Iraqi authorities worked to transfer them secretly back across the border.

"The lions of the desert and the men of the impossible missions set up traps along the road that leads to the border exits," a statement posted on the militant’s websites said.

Last Monday, 48 Syrian soldiers and nine Iraqi guards were killed in an ambush attack by Iraqi gunmen near the two countries sharing border.

The soldiers were on their way back to the border in Iraq’s western Anbar province, where Iraqi authorities were going to hand them over to Syrian officials.

The convoy of the Syrian soldiers entered Iraq through the Yaarubiyeh border when militants fighting against President Bashar al-Assad's troops took control of the Syrian side of the border earlier.

"The fighters launched an attack from two directions using light and medium range weapons as well as rocket propelled grenades," said the al-Qaida affiliated group in Iraq. "Within less than half an hour the whole convoy ... was annihilated."

The assault suggests possible coordination between the terror network's Iraq affiliate and its allies in Syria who are fighting against Assad's government.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of Army and security personnel, have been killed in the violence.

The Syrian government has said that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and that a very large number of the militants operating in the country are foreign nationals.



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