Major General Mohammed Kheir, center, exits the Arsal Technical school after assessing the damage, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. (The Daily Star/Nidal Solh)
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The northeastern town of Arsal was still reeling from last week's five-day clashes as officials arrived Monday to take stock of the damage inflicted during the fighting.Gen. Mohammad Khair led a delegation of the High Relief Committee in a visit to Arsal Monday to assess the damage incurred during the clashes.For many, now, the best solution to the refugee crisis is to establish camps outside Arsal and deploy the Army inside the town.During the clashes militants also captured 20 members of the Internal Security Forces and 19 Army soldiers – some have been released but others are still being held.The unit in particular played an important role in stopping the armed men in the outskirts of the town from entering and by protecting military positions.This extensive Army presence is meant to prevent similar incidents from occurring, especially as there are an estimated 10,000 armed militants spread on the rugged outskirts of Arsal, which span 35 kilometers before reaching the Syrian frontier.Mohammad Ezeddine, who owns numerous cherry orchards on the town's outskirts and who hasn't been able to harvest this season because of the presence of armed militants in the area has asked that the Army expel them.
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