Fawaz Bitar, a former Lebanese soldier, uses a pair of binoculars as he looks towards a mountain range dividing Lebanon and Syria, as seen from the predominantly Druze town of Rashaya October 29, 2014. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir
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On the other side of the mountain range, Sunni Islamist fighters linked to al Qaeda and hostile to groups including the Druze, are battling Syria's army as well as other insurgents.Militants from Syria crossed into the Lebanese Sunni border town of Arsal in August further north, killing and capturing dozens of soldiers and demanding the release of their fellow fighters held in Lebanon. Since then the army has said it has captured people it suspects of wanting to carry out more attacksAlso in August, Druze villagers opened fire on a bus carrying Syrians after it failed to stop at an army checkpoint at Ein Atta outside Rashaya, according to local officials, who said one Syrian was killed and two were wounded.With most Druze and Christian parts of Lebanon spared violence from Syria's three-and-a-half-year conflict that has hit other areas, Druze leaders on a national level have urged communities to avoid acting independently from the army.The army draws its members from all of Lebanon's communities.Syrian Druze have occasionally clashed with insurgents in areas close to the border with Lebanon.Some suspected Syrian fighters have also appeared in the Rashaya area, according to the Lebanese army.
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