Syrian jets hit rebels in Golan Heights as government tries to dislodge them from frontier

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BEIRUT — Syrian government warplanes targeted rebels near the country's frontier with Israel in the Golan Heights on Thursday, a day after opposition fighters captured a border crossing point in the region.

The Syrian airstrikes hit several areas near the border in Quneitra province, including the village of Jaba, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The Local Coordination Committees activist group also reported the air raids.

The Observatory said heavy clashes were raging between the rebels and Syrian military in Jaba and the surrounding countryside.

White plumes of smoke set off by exploding mortar rounds could be seen on Thursday from the Israeli side of the Golan. The sound of small arms fire could be heard echoing in the background.

An array of Syrian rebel groups, including the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, captured the frontier crossing on Wednesday. A rebel spokesman said the opposition is focused on fighting President Bashar Assad, and poses no threat to Israel.

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