March 5, 2013
FALLUJAH, Iraq—Gunmen killed 48 Syrians and nine Iraqis Monday as they ambushed a convoy in western Iraq carrying Syrian soldiers to the border, the premier’s spokesman said, vowing to resist attempts to spread Syria’s conflict to its neighbour.
The ambush, a day after a key Syrian opposition group accused Iraq of interfering in Syria, threatens to entangle Iraq in its neighbor’s bloody, prolonged civil war—something Baghdad has sought to avoid.
“This confirms our fears of the attempt of some to move the conflict to Iraq, but we will face these attempts by all sides with all of our power,” Ali Mussawi, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s spokesman, told AFP, putting the toll from the ambush at 48 Syrian soldiers and nine Iraqi soldiers killed.
The Syrian soldiers crossed into Iraq from the Yaarubiyeh border crossing, scene of fighting on Saturday between rebels and troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed Khalaf al-Dulaimi said.