Syrian army 'storms' border town of Tal Shehab

Newly-arrived Syrian refugees sit on the road after crossing the border from Syria into Jordan Thousands of Syrians are thought to have passed through Tal Shehab on their way to Jordan

The Syrian army has attacked a town on the border with Jordan which has been a transit point for refugees leaving the country, activists say.

Soldiers, backed by at least 20 tanks, mounted the assault on the town of Tal Shehab, according to opposition groups.

The town had been in the hands of anti-government rebels and is a crossing point for refugees fleeing to Jordan.

Fighting was also reported elsewhere, including the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp near Damascus.

Activists and residents said there had been shelling in Yarmouk, with at least five people killed and several injured.

Video footage uploaded by activists purporting to show the aftermath of the shelling showed several badly damaged buildings.

The Local Co-ordination Committees (LCC), a network of opposition activists inside Syria, said that at least 67 people had been killed on Thursday, mostly in Damascus and the surrounding area.

Ten people were killed in the eastern city of Deir ez-Zor and eight in Deraa, the LCC said.

Growing influx

Tal Shehab has been a staging post for many of the refugees fleeing Syria into Jordan.

Activists said that homes were raided and residents detained during the attack on the town.

Jordan says up to 183,000 Syrians have entered the country since the uprising began - earlier this week authorities reported arrivals at the rate of about 1,000 a day.

Jordanian Prime Minister Fawaz Tarawneh raised the issue of international assistance for Jordan at a press conference with the visiting Cypriot president.

A Jordanian soldier helps a newly-arrived Syrian refugee with her baby after hundreds of people feeling the violence crossed the border from Syria into Jordan The Jordanian government has appealed for international help to deal with Syrian refugees

"The numbers [of Syrian refugees] is becoming beyond our capabilities, beyond even our expectations and we expect more as things deteriorate in Syria," Mr Tarawneh said.

The UN refugee agency said on Tuesday that more than 100,000 Syrians fled the country in August - the highest monthly total since protests against President Bashar al-Assad erupted in March 2011.

More than 230,000 people are now sheltering in neighbouring states.

There are also thought to be more than 1.2 million internally displaced people in Syria, and 2.5 million in need of humanitarian assistance.

On Tuesday, the new UN and Arab League envoy to Syria warned that the situation across the country was "deteriorating steadily".

"The death toll is staggering, the destruction is reaching catastrophic proportions and the suffering of the people is immense," Lakhdar Brahimi said in his first address to the UN General Assembly since his appointment.

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Map showing camps for Syrian refugees. Total refugees: 235,368; Lebanon: 59,111; Turkey: 80,410; Jordan: 77,165; Iraq: 18,682. Source: UNHCR and Turkey, September 2012

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