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Fierce clashes in Syria keeping Ramtha residents up at night

By Raed Omari - May 05,2015 - Last updated at May 05,2015

AMMAN — Intensified clashes between the Syrian army and the armed opposition on Syria’s southern border with Jordan has become a nightmare for residents of Ramtha and other northern districts.

Residents of the border town, some 90km north of Amman, said they have had “sleepless nights” over the past few days due to the nearby clashes.

“I was afraid to leave my home two days ago because of the loud, intense fighting in nearby Daraa,” Hussein Zoubi told The Jordan Times. 

“I was afraid of a stray bullet or any projectiles flying from the Syrian side to my city… It has happened before.”

“I was even very firm with my sons and forced them to stay home until the sound of gunfire and cannons died down,” he added.

The same sentiments were echoed by Marwan Salman, who said the deafening sound of exploding bombs from the Syrian side “shakes both homes and hearts”.

“I was told by my fellow Ramtha residents living very close to the border that they woke up in the middle of the night because their houses were shaking strongly due to the impact of the shelling in Syria,” the father of four said.

“The Syrian crisis has been on for four years and we have become somewhat accustomed to the sounds of the nearby war, but this time it is getting louder and louder. This has been the case for almost a month.”

Mohammad Zoubi, 24, said he used to watch clashes on the Syrian side from the roof of his father’s house which, according to him, is less than two kilometres from Daraa, the birthplace of the Syrian revolution in 2011.

“I can’t do that now. It has become really risky these days. Clashes in Syria are more intense. We can notice this from the loud sounds of gunfire and the rising smoke on the horizon,” he noted.

Zoubi also said he was afraid of stray bullets and shells hitting his house.

In addition to Ramtha, home to more than 100,000 residents and a large number of Syrian refugees, the northern villages of Amrawah, Shajarah and Turrah are adjacent to the southern Syrian towns of Tal Shihab, Zeizoun and Heet.

Last month, Jordan closed its border with Syria as a result of escalating violence in the town of Nasib, near the Jaber border crossing in Mafraq.

The border crossing in Ramtha has been closed for nearly four years, and is currently only used to transport assistance to the war-torn country.   

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