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'30 killed' by blast in Syrian town

A powerful explosion has rocked a Syrian town near the border with Iraq, according to state media and activists.

Syrian state TV said the blast in a market in Mayadeen killed 30 people and wounded many others.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says eight people were killed and many others injured, including some who are in critical condition.

Mayadeen is about 35 miles from the Iraqi border in Syria's oil-rich eastern province of Deir el-Zour, which has seen heavy fighting among rival rebel factions as well as between government forces and opposition fighters.

The blast came days after jihadists launched a wide offensive in northern and central Iraq capturing much of the border between the two countries.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, largely composed of foreign jihadists, has made significant headway in eastern Syria over the past six weeks, seizing towns and villages in heavy fighting against the al Qaida-affiliated Nusra Front and other Islamic rebel groups.

Earlier today, Jordan's state-run news agency reported that border guards opened fire on four vehicles trying to enter illegally from Syria after they ignored orders to stop. It did not say whether anyone was killed or wounded in the incident.

The Petra news agency said the incident took place yesterday.

Jordan hosts nearly 600,000 registered Syrian refugees, although Jordanian officials say the real number is far higher.

The kingdom has quietly supported Syria's rebels since the start of the uprising against president Bashar Assad in 2011, and ordered Syria's ambassador out last month after accusing him of making "offensive" statements about Jordan.

Syria's conflict, in its fourth year, has killed at least 160,000 people, according to activists. Nearly three million Syrians have fled the country.

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