As many as 40 Syrian soldiers and government employees have been killed by unidentified gunmen in Iraq.
They were among a group of Syrian nationals who crossed the border into Iraq to escape a Syrian rebel attack last week.
Iraqi officials were escorting the group to the Syrian border when they came under fire in the town of Akashat in Anbar province.
Authorities say a number of Iraqi soldiers were also killed in the ambush.
Anbar province is populated mainly by Sunni Muslims the same branch of Islam as those in conflict with the Syrian government.