Al Qaeda claims responsibility for attack on Syrian convoy
March 11, 2013 -- Updated 0758 GMT (1558 HKT)
Gunmen attacked a convoy ferrying Syrian soldiers near the western Iraqi town of Ar Rutbah.
- The Al Qaeda claim appears on jihadist forums
- The Syrian convoy was ambushed by gunmen using roadside bombs and machine guns
- The violence raises concerns that Syria's civil war could spill over into Iraq
(CNN) -- Al Qaeda is claiming responsibility for the destruction of a Syrian Army convoy in western Iraq last week that killed some 48 Syrians and nine Iraqi soldiers.
The militant group released a statement on jihadist forums Monday.
The group claims it intercepted the convoy while the Syrian troops were on their way to camps secretly provided by the Iraqi government. The militants said everyone in the convoy was killed.
The attack has raised concerns that Syria's civil war could spill over into Iraq.
Syria violence spills into Iraq
Syrian soldiers reported killed in Iraq
"From the beginning, we have warned that some militant groups want to move the conflict in Syria to Iraq," Ali al-Mussawi, an adviser to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, said last week. "Militant groups are very active on the border areas between Iraq and Syria."
Al-Mussawi said that many of the Syrians killed in the ambush had earlier received medical treatment in Iraq. They were wounded during a battle at the Yaarabiya-Rabia border crossing. The point is called Rabia in Iraq; Yaarabiya in Syria.
Dozens of Syrian soldiers and officials took refuge in Iraq by surrendering to that country's army on March 1 after rebels took over the Yaarabiya post, Iraqi security officials said. They added that the convoy had been headed from Rabia to the al-Waleed border crossing in Iraq's Anbar province when it was attacked.
The United Nations has estimated that about 70,000 people have been killed in Syria's civil war, which began roughly two years ago.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
Explore CNN's interactive that explains ISIS' roots, what it controls, and where its support comes from.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 2010 GMT (0410 HKT)
In his first-ever interview as the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani defended his country against allegations of funding terrorism.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 0920 GMT (1720 HKT)
The U.S. and several Arab nations carried out airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, intensifying the campaign against the militant group.
September 27, 2014 -- Updated 1645 GMT (0045 HKT)
A mysterious Chicago fire and possible suicide attempt causes massive disruption in the U.S.
September 27, 2014 -- Updated 1503 GMT (2303 HKT)
The North Korean leader hasn't been seen for weeks, leading to speculation that he is in poor health.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 0154 GMT (0954 HKT)
Haider al-Abadi hopes airstrikes don't lead to "of another terrorist element" instead of ISIS.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
The United States couldn't do it on its first try. Neither could the Soviets.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 0910 GMT (1710 HKT)
Emma Watson lent her name and her glittery profile to the cause of feminism at the United Nations.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 1529 GMT (2329 HKT)
CNN's Nima Elbagir reflects on a harrowing trip to Liberia where she covered the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history.
September 26, 2014 -- Updated 1423 GMT (2223 HKT)
Contrary to public opinion, rats can actually save lives -- Apopo's rats have actually saved thousands.
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 1127 GMT (1927 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.