ALHERI, Syria, July 14 – On this desolate stretch of desert along the Iraqi frontier, tensions with the American soldiers just across the border are running so high, Syrian soldiers say, that four villagers have been shot by American soldiers in the past month. Soldiers on the Syrian side of the border said American soldiers shot dead two cousins, one Iraqi and one Syrian, as they crossed into Iraqi territory about three weeks ago. Since then, they said, two other Syrian civilians have been wounded in separate incidents this month. The Syrians said that American helicopters and planes routinely violate Syrian airspace while patrolling.
The events described at this Syrian border post are the latest in a series of incidents along the frontier. They include the American attack, on June 18, on a convoy suspected of ferrying loyalists of Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi leader.
That incident, along a smugglers’ route about 30 miles from here, and the others have apparently fueled intense anti-American rage in the villages on the border. Among the signs of that anger is a series of video discs circulating through the villages exhorting viewers to attack the Americans in Iraq.
Indeed, the locals here say the anger is high enough to prompt young Syrians to go across the border to stage attacks against Americans soldiers. It is unclear whether the four villagers shot in the recent incidents had crossed into Iraq with that intention.
Local Syrian officials say they are growing increasingly frustrated and fearful that events could spin out of control.
“The Americans are firing at random, firing at so many people,” said Maj. Ali Shamad, the chief of the Syrian border post, who confirmed the deaths of the two villagers and the wounding of two more. “Their planes come over the border every day. The Americans have gone too far.”
Only moments before, an American military helicopter had swooped down to about 100 feet over the Iraqi-Syrian frontier, at one point appearing to cross into Syrian airspace. Through the morning here, the rumble of American jets could be heard for miles, though it was unclear which side of the border they were over.
“It is very provocative,” the major said, referring to the American actions. “Very provocative.”
Major Shamad described the Americans on the Syrian border as jumpy and afraid, firing on the slightest pretext. He insisted that his own troops did not fire, even when fired upon or when the American planes or helicopters crossed into Syrian airspace.
“Not without orders,” the major said.
American officials could not be reached today to discuss the accusations. Although Syrian officials said American soldiers were as close as 25 yards from the Syrian posts, an American reporter who visited the border was blocked by Syrian soldiers from getting close enough to contact the Americans.
Villagers living along the border here say that since the fall of Mr. Hussein, the Americans have been blocking families with members on both sides of the border from visiting one another.
Villagers say the 300-mile frontier, mostly desert, is traversed by smugglers as well, and that much of the trouble the Americans have encountered has been from their effort to contain smuggling.
“As long as the Americans are here, we cannot smuggle,” said Adnan Slaibi, a villager in Alheri.
Several villagers here said the Iraqi convoy that was attacked by American planes and commandos last month was in fact a group of smugglers making their way across the border.
Relatives of the two men apparently killed on the border said they were shot while trying to visit a relative in the village of Qaim on the Iraqi side. Family members said that Abdul Halim Haloum and his cousin, Same Haloum, both 25, were apparently shot as they crossed the border during the night.
Abdul Rehman Haloum, the father of Abdul Halim, said that the bodies of the two men were returned to the family by a relative who worked at a hospital on the other side of the border and that he said the men had been shot by American soldiers. Each, he said, had been shot in the head, side and leg.
“I never had a problem with the Americans,” Mr. Haloum said in an interview, “but after what they did to my son, I hate them now.”
Syrian soldiers and villagers said at least two other locals had been shot by the Americans in the past two weeks.
One of the men was said to have been shot when he wandered by accident into the neutral zone that separates the Syrian and American positions, while the other was said to have been smuggling cigarettes into Syria from Iraq.
When a reporter approached the house of the man said to have been killed after wandering into the no-man’s land, he was approached by two men who said they had been sent by the Syrian secret police. Stay out of the village, the men said. The other man said to have been wounded by the Americans could not be located.
There are other indications here that anger against the Americans is running strong.
A Syrian man in the nearby village of Abu Kamal invited an American reporter into his home for lunch, and then began to play videos exhorting Muslims to fight against the Americans in Iraq.
“Jihad is oxygen,” one of the videos said. “Without jihad, we cannot breathe.”
One of the videos played by the Syrian man, Sulaiman Abu Ibrahim, showed what appeared to be the beheading of a soldier from a Western country by a crowd of Middle Easterners.
Mr. Ibrahim said it was an American who was being shown in the video, and that he had been beheaded during the battle for the Baghdad airport in early April.
Senior Pentagon officials in Washington said they knew of no American beheaded during the war.