AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Jordan on Tuesday charged four men with illegally trying to cross into Syria after an exchange of gunfire with Jordanian border guards last week, a military prosecutor said.
The prosecutor said three of the men were in custody following their arrest along an isolated stretch of the northern frontier with Syria.
He said the fourth man escaped after the group had shot at a Jordanian border patrol, wounding one officer. The prosecutor spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation.
He said the men were all Jordanian and were armed with automatic rifles and ammunition, and had computers and mobile phones when they were arrested.
They were being questioned in custody on whether they planned to join what Western and Jordanian intelligence services estimate to be around 2,000 foreigners fighting alongside Syrian rebels trying to topple President Bashar Assad, the prosecutor added.
The men face up to three years in prison, if convicted, he added.
At the time of the border incident, the leader of Jordan’s militant Salafis announced that four fighters had arrived in the Syrian border town of Daraa to fight against Assad. It was not immediately clear if the arrested men were linked to that group.
The Salafi leader, Mohammad al-Chalabi, told The Associated Press that he had no immediate information if any group members were arrested.
Al-Chalabi’s ultraorthodox Sunni Muslim group accuses Assad, who is a member of Syria’s ruling Alawite minority, of intentionally killing Syrians from the rival Sunni Muslim sect at the behest of Shiite powerhouse Iran. The Alawites are a secret offshoot of Shiite Islam and make up about 15 percent of Syria’s 23 million people. Sunnis make up 60 percent of the population.
Western and Jordanian intelligence officials estimate that up to 60 members of al-Chalabi’s banned Salafi Jihadi group, which even considers non-militant Sunni Muslims as infidels, are fighting in Syria.
In other developments, about 50 Syrian refugees in Jordan rioted in their desert border camp of Zaatari after a dust storm late Monday that destroyed 100 tents, leaving scores of refugee families out in the night cold.
A Jordanian police official said the refugees torched a private car that belonged to an aid worker and a trailer used to store medical supplies to the 32,000 residents of Zaatari camp. A Syrian refugee said police fired tear gas, causing panic among the refugee families, many of whom already had breathing problems because of the dust storm.
Both the police official and the Syrian refugee said no one was injured. They spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the refugee issue in Jordan.
More Related Stories
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Teenage girl claims she was beaten up for looking like Taylor Swift
- UK Military: London attack victim was a "model soldier"
- Billionaire hedge funder: Babies, breast-feeding "kill" focus, keep women from succeeding
- "Bookless library" set to open in Texas
- 2 more arrested in London attacks
- Glenn Beck: CNN interview with atheist tornado survivor was a setup!
- Incoming BBC news director on journalism gender gap: "We can do better"
- Illegal construction, shoddy materials at fault in Bangladesh factory disaster
- Ahead of Obama's speech, U.S. acknowledges four American drone killings
- Must-see morning clip: Bill O'Reilly visits "The Daily Show"
- Lawsuit alleges anti-gay hiring practices at ExxonMobil
- Boy Scouts poised to vote, still greatly divided on gay youth
- House supporters of KXL received $56m from fossil fuel industry
- 80-year-old becomes oldest to climb Mount Everest
- Before FBI shooting man implicated self, Tsarnaev in triple murder
- Paul McCartney backs Pussy Riot
- UK emergency committee convenes after attack
- Brave scout leader tried to reason with London attackers
- If Alex Pareene were a cable news executive...
- El Salvador court delays ruling on abortion case while woman's life hangs in the balance
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11