Fighting between troops and rebels near the Syrian – Turkish border post of Rass Al Ain in the northeast of Syria killed at least 26 people Thursday, including 10 rebels and 16 soldiers, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
For its part, the Turkish press reported that five Turkish civilians were lightly wounded by stray bullets from the firefights at Rass al-Ein, a predominantly Kurdish town where one of the last two crossings into Turkey that has yet to fall into the hands of insurgents.
Hundreds of rebel fighters have converged at dawn and moved from Turkey to Rass Al-Ain, in the province of Hasakah, while the army sent reinforcements there, said the SOHR.
For its part, the Syrian state television said troops had killed dozens of “terrorists”, while others had fled outside Syrian territory.
One resident told AFP that fighters from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) stormed the border crossing from the Turkish side, before attacking a police station and an intelligence center at Rass al-Ain.
Rebels and many Syrian civilians fleeing the fighting have crossed into Turkey, where authorities also issued warning for the nearby residents of Ceylanpinar, a Turkish town near Rass al-Ein, reported Anatolia news agency.
A convoy of armored vehicles was traveling from the Turkish border town of Sanliurfa to positions along the border, according to Turkish media.
Usually, Ain al-Rass crossing is open only during religious festivals and allow the populations on both sides of the border to visit their families.
Turkey has strengthened its security on its border with Syria after the death of five Turkish villagers, killed on Oct. 3 by the fall of a Syrian shell. The Turkish artillery responds to any shell landing in its territory.