Syrian army ventures into Lebanon in search of defectors


Two Syrian army tanks crossed the border into eastern Lebanon on Tuesday, reportedly as part of a search for activists or army defectors who have fled the country.

“The two tanks crossed the Lebanese territories in the east and shelled the battery factory which is located about 4 kilometers from the Lebanese border with Syria,” Lebanon’s LBC satellite channel reported.

The factory is owned by Zahry el Jabbawy who told the station this is the third time the Syrians enter the area .

The Lebanese government which is dominated by Hezbollah, a close ally of Syria remained closed mouthed about this incident and the previous ones

Some 5,000 Syrians, among them army defectors, have sought refuge in northern and eastern Lebanon since the start of the government crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Syria.

According to a report in al Al Sharq al Awsat newspaper the Syrian refugees in Lebanon are trying to avoid areas that are dominated by Hezbollah and its March 8 allies.

The Al Nashra website, quoting informed sources, meanwhile reported that the tanks had targeted a deserted farm in Arsal, located in the arid valley along the border.

An estimated 2,700 people have been killed since the uprising started in Syria in mid-March, according to the United Nations. DPA