BEIRUT — Syrian army units ambushed and killed a group of opposition fighters near Damascus, the capital, state media reported Saturday, saying that the group had crossed into the country from neighboring Jordan.
The rebels, which Syria’s state-run news agency said were attached to Islamist factions including the Islamic Front and Al Qaeda-linked Al Nusra Front, were monitored as they crossed the Syria-Jordan border before being engaged by army units in the city of Adra, 11 miles northeast of Damascus. Some activists said the army units killed 12 people, including two civilians and members of the West-supported Free Syrian Army.
Casualty figures could not be independently verified. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a pro-opposition group, confirmed the attack.
Elsewhere, rebels mounted an attack to wrest control of one of the few official border crossings on the Syrian-Turkish border to have remained in government hands.
The three-year-long Syrian civil war began as a series of anti-government protests that soon escalated into a war that has devastated the country, with more than 100,000 people dead, according to the U.N., and millions displaced. It has also sharpened the divide among Syria's many sects, as Islamist groups dominated the rebels' ranks, including the Al Qaeda splinter group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
The group espouses a harsh ultra-conservative interpretation of Islamic law. In its stronghold city of Raqqa, members on Saturday crucified a man accused in a killed. Images posted on social media showed men taking cellphone pictures of a bloodied man on a rudimentary cross in the city's central square.