independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Syria jets blast Lebanon border

The Lebanese army fired on Syrian aircraft that violated the country's airspace on Tuesday (AP)

Syrian warplanes carried out air strikes near the Lebanese border today, wounding at least 10 Syrians who were rushed to hospital in a nearby Lebanese town.

The bombing hit near Arsal, where thousands of Syrians have fled to escape their country's civil war over the past months.

The Lebanese state news agency did not say whether the bombing occurred on Lebanese territory. But the area mentioned, Jroud Arsal, refers to the barren rugged hills east of the town that are within Lebanon.

Two Arsal residents said a wounded woman brought to the town after the air raid had died. They said three others are in critical condition.

Arsal is on the other side of Syria's rugged Qalamoun region where the government has been on the offensive for weeks, capturing a number of towns and villages in the area.

Yesterday, the Lebanese army fired on Syrian aircraft that violated the country's airspace. It was the first time Lebanon had defended its borders from Syria's military since the uprising broke out nearly three years ago.

Syrian forces often chase rebels sneaking in and out of Lebanon. Communities on the Lebanese side of the border dominated by Sunni Muslims have become safe havens for rebels battling the rule of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Also today, state media and activists reported heavy clashes in the Damascus suburb of Adra, part of which was stormed by rebels last month. State TV said 21 rebels were killed in the latest fighting in Adra.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said opposition fighters battled with troops from Mr Assad's army as well as pro-government militias known as the National Defence Forces and fighters from Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group.

The Observatory said a number of government forces were killed as well as two Hezbollah fighters.

AP

Press Association

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