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Unidentified armed men on Monday ambushed a convoy carrying Syrian soldiers who had crossed into Iraq from the site of weekend fighting, killing 42 Syrians and seven Iraqis, security officers said.
The soldiers crossed into Iraq from the Yaarubiyeh border crossing, the scene of heavy fighting on Saturday between rebels and troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, said Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed Khalaf al-Dulaimi of the border protection forces.
The soldiers were first transported by Iraqi authorities from Nineveh province to Baghdad, and they were on their way back to be handed over to Syrian authorities on the border with Anbar province in western Iraq when the attack took place, Dulaimi said.
Armed men attacked the convoy from two sides with mortar rounds, automatic weapons and mines, killing 42 Syrian soldiers and seven Iraqis. Eight Syrians and four Iraqis were wounded, and three vehicles in the convoy destroyed, he said.
Major Ali Juwair al-Dulaimi from Anbar Operations Command confirmed the toll.