ANKARA, Turkey Syrian warplanes Monday bombed a security building that had been taken over by rebels along the Turkish border, killing at least one person, wounding 20 more and sending dozens of civilians fleeing across the frontier, a Turkish official said.
The conflict also spilled into Syria's eastern neighbor, Lebanon, after Lebanese troops exchanged fire with rebels across the border late Sunday.
Violence from Syria's 20-month-old uprising has on several occasions touched neighboring countries, fueling concerns that the Arab Spring’s longest and deadliest revolt could touch off a regional war.
The violence came as Russian President Vladimir Putin, a close ally of Damascus, headed to Turkey for talks likely to be overshadowed by the two countries’ differences over Syria. Ankara is expected to press Putin to stop backing President Bashar Assad’s regime. Moscow has shown no inclination to relinquish its support for its last Middle East ally, whom it has shielded from international sanctions and continued to provide with weapons amid the escalating civil war.
An official from the mayor’s office in the Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar said a Syrian jet targeted a security building that had been overrun by rebels, dropping two bombs on an area some 300 yards from the Turkish border.
Meanwhile, U.S. and allied intelligence have detected Syrian movement of chemical weapons components in recent days, a senior U.S. defense official said Monday.
A senior defense official said intelligence officials have detected activity around more than one of Syria's chemical weapons sites in the last week. The defense official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about intelligence matters.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in Prague for meetings with Czech officials, reiterated President Barack Obama’s declaration that Syrian action on chemical weapons was a “red line” for the United States that would prompt action.
“We have made our views very clear: This is a red line for the United States,” Clinton said. “I’m not going to telegraph in any specifics what we would do in the event of credible evidence that the Assad regime has resorted to using chemical weapons against their own people. But suffice it to say, we are certainly planning to take action if that eventuality were to occur.”
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