Interactive: The battle for Syria’s borders

Al Jazeera correspondents explain the latest developments as the opposition captures key crossings into embattled Syria.

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Andrew Simmons

Jane Arraf

Turkish-Syrian border – The fighting within Syria continues to affect neighbouring countries.

Notably, in recent days, a number of border crossings have been either targeted or captured by the Syrian opposition.

One of these key crossings is with a crucial Syrian neighbour, Turkey, where the crossing at Cilvegozu is under rebel control.

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In Iraq’s northern Kurdish region, Jane Arraf met Syrian Kurds who are receiving military training from their Iraqi brethren. Kurdish regional President Massoud Barzani told our correspondent that Kurdish-Syrian fighters will eventually be sent back to defend Kurdish territory at home.

The training puts yet another twist on complicated relations between Kurds and their neighbours, highlighting major differences between the policy of the Kurdish regional government and Iraq’s central government towards Syria.

There have been an intense series of battles for control over the Yarabiya border crossing between Syria and Iraq, as fighters from the opposition struggle against the Syrian army.

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Rula Amin

Amman – Jordan’s king is watching the situation with apprehension, as he worries that Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles could fall into “unfriendly hands”.

The Americans and Jordanians have been in joint military exercises and discussions, racking their brains about how to best keep these weapons intact should the Assad regime fall. One of the proposals included American troops going into Syria within 18 hours of a regime collapse to secure these stockpiles. This is an indication that some in the region are well-prepared for Assad’s fall. But that doesn’t mean the cost of the war in Syria is not high on its neighbours.

Jordan believes it has a heavy security burden on its chest. So far, it hosts over 150,000 Syrian refugees and hundreds keep trickling in every day. Camps in the north are overcrowded, and the fear is that Assad loyalists would infiltrate into the country and plot attacks against Jordan, which is viewed as providing shelter to Syrian revolutionaries.

Reporting from Beruit, Rula Amin analysed a bomb attack on July 18 which took out key regime figures including the: defence minister, deputy defence minister, interior minister, deputy vice president and top intelligence people. The blast was considered a turning point in the conflict by many analysts.

“The explosion was obviously an insider’s job; explosives were planted in the meeting room,” Amin reported. “A former loyalist must have struck at the heart of the Syrian regime, despite the faith that was put into him by the state. This will only add to the government’s paranoia.”

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On the border between Syria and Lebanon, Zeina Khodr meets middle class refugees fleeing fighting in Damascus, and they mirror the sectarian tensions tearing at the country.

“Why has the world ignored the internal opposition in Syria who have been trying to bring about reforms through dialogue?” wondered one young woman, who was critical of the armed opposition.

Another refugee, an opposition supporter, called the army “child killers”.

Syria has a complex ethnic and religious makeup, including: Sunni Muslims, Alawites, Christians and other groups. Minorities seem more likely to support the government than the Sunni majority who form the backbone of the opposition. Our correspondent watches these sects interact with each other at the Masnaa border crossing.

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Source: Al Jazeera