By Caitlin Huey-Burns
Posted: May 4, 2011
Officials in Thailand and Cambodia reached a tentative truce, according to reports, after artillery battles between the two countries’ security forces erupted several days ago. The fighting is not over, though it has been reduced. More than a dozen people, including at least one civilian, have reportedly been killed in the clashes over which nation can claim a pair of ancient temples that are popular with tourists along their ill-defined border. The thousands of people displaced from their homes by the fighting last week are starting to return to their villages.
It remains unclear which side started the fighting, as each country blames the other. The dispute has been the source of several violent conflicts over the past two years, after Cambodia received U.N. World Heritage Site status for a temple near the border, prompting Thailand to contest ownership. The current skirmish, which comes as Thailand prepares to hold elections as early as June, is the second since February, when military forces fought over ownership of the ancient Preah Vihear temple.