Syrian airstrikes target Lebanese border town


arsal lebanon mapSyrian warplanes carried out three airstrikes on the outskirts of the eastern border town of Arsal as media reports said that gunmen from the rebel bastion of Yabrud fled to the area after the Syrian army seized full control of the town.

The Syrian airstrike targeted the outskirts of Arsal’s mountainous regions.

Opposition sources said civilians and activists in the town of Yabrud had fled overnight into neighboring Lebanon.

And Syrian state television said the army was targeting “groups of terrorists” fleeing Yabrud between the village of Fleita in Syria and the town of Arsal.

Arsal municipal chief Ali al-Hujairi denied that gunmen from the Yabrud area entered the border town.

LBCI reported that more than 1,000 gunmen headed to the outskirts of the Bekaa town of Arsal as the Lebanese army took extra measures to prevent armed men from entering the area.

The Lebanese army also closed the Arsal-Labweh road.

Syrian troops had seized on Sunday full control of the rebel bastion Yabrud in the strategic Qalamun region near the Lebanese border.

The town’s seizure is also likely to place new pressure on Arsal, which is hosting tens of thousands of refugees that have fled the Qalamun region.

Sunni Arsal is largely sympathetic to the Sunni-led uprising, and rebel fighters are believed to have bases in areas around the town.

Al-Hujairi accused the Syrian regime of sending explosives-laden vehicles to Lebanon, pointing out that it aims at inciting sedition in Lebanon.

Hizbullah and Lebanese security forces have alleged that many of the car bombs used in those attacks originated in Yabrud and were driven across the Lebanese border.

The municipal chief of Labweh, Ramez Nasser Amhaz, said in comments to LBCI that the Lebanese state is the sole guarantee for the town, pointing out that it is capable of arresting gunmen and criminals.

The Syrian air force has regularly carried out air strikes with war planes and helicopters targeting rebel positions around Arsal.