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Differing accounts of clashes with Turkish border forces as regime bombs A-Raqqa City

May 3, 2013 By Nuha Shabaan Independent activists said on […]

3 May 2013

May 3, 2013

By Nuha Shabaan

Independent activists said on Friday that the provincial capital of A-Raqqa is reeling after explosive barrels were dropped on a civilian area, killing at least seven people.

“This is the first time the city witnesses this type of raid with exploding barrels,” said Fawaz al-Hassan, the head of the A-Raqqa Media Center, which is closely documenting events in the province. The search for survivors in the rubble continues, he said.

It was not immediately clear why the city was targeted, but in recent weeks the regime has bombed other civilian areas in the province, which activists say are designed to turn public support against the FSA, which controls large swathes of A-Raqqa province.

FSA clashes with Turkish forces

Tensions are heightened in the north of the province one day after clashes between the FSA and Turkish security forces along the border near Tal Abiad.

The Turkish daily Hurriyet reported on Friday that an estimated 1,000 Syrians sought to cross into Turkey without passports, and after being rebuffed, reacted by throwing stones and firing bullets. An anonymous Turkish official told the paper that the Syrians were believed to be smugglers.

Activists on the ground in A-Raqqa had a different story. Fawaz al-Hassan said he has information, which could not independently verified but matched that of other activists, that “there are Alawite members of the Turkish border security and their loyalty is to the regime.”

Al-Hassan said the border officials stall when allowing food and medicine to pass into A-Raqqa through Tal Abiad. “They [Turkish officials} cooperate with the regime and send reports about the movements of the FSA – the FSA discovered this and the clashes happened.”

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