​Inside Syria: Militia aids Syrian army near Jordanian border

This is the third in a series of reports from Syria by CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer. The first looked at Latakia, a summer vacation spot that appears normal amid a worsening war. The second was filed from Qardaha, the deeply loyal hometown of President Bashar al-Assad.


DAMASCUS, Syria -- CBS News traveled to the southern front of Syria's civil war, a few miles from the Jordanian border, which has been closed completely for the past couple of months because the territory is occupied by fighters from ISIS and another extremist group called Jabhat al Nusra.

Syrian militiamen got into position, making it safe for us to take a look at the territory. In the distance, beyond an olive grove, was the headquarters of al Nusra, said commander Abu Majd.

"Their snipers are always looking for targets," he warned.

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A Syrian militiaman keeps watch over territory near the Jordan/Syria border
CBS News

This spring, rebels battled their way into the area and pushed the Syrian forces out. Since then, apart from skirmishes it's been a stalemate. Only one bullet was fired during our visit, but the fighters are still tense.

Militia units are everywhere, helping the Syrian army hold its remaining ground. Commander Abu Mohammed told us his men come under regular attack from mortars, rockets and heavy machine guns.

A few hundred yards away, in Jordan, the U.S. has been training rebels to slip back into Syria to fight ISIS -- an enemy America shares with Syria.

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Commander Abu Majd
CBS News

But Mohammed does not see his soldiers and the Americans as partners in the fight against ISIS.

"Not allies" said Mohammed. "In fact, we don't trust anything American. We have a saying here, nothing good ever comes from the West."

The fighters do recognize that the American airstrikes are taking some pressure off but they are just as concerned about other extremist groups, which they point out are being armed and financed by America's Arab partners in the Gulf.

  • Elizabeth Palmer

    Elizabeth Palmer has been a CBS News correspondent since August 2000. She has been based in London since late 2003, after having been based in Moscow (2000-03). Palmer reports primarily for the "CBS Evening News."