HERMEL, Lebanon: The Lebanese Army deployed heavily along the northeastern border Thursday as Syrian rebel groups launched an offensive to retake key Syrian towns, leading to intense clashes with Hezbollah-backed regime forces, a security source said.
Speaking to The Daily Star on condition of anonymity, the source said rebel groups were advancing from a range of barren hills toward the Syrian towns of Jousieh and Qusair.
Led by Hezbollah fighters, the Syrian Army said in June of last year it took back the town of Qusair which rebels had held for more than a year.
After the Qusair battle, Hezbollah expanded its military involvement in Syria while maintaining that resistance fighters remain in select cities.
Lebanese Army personnel from the Airborne regiment deployed in several locations along Masharih al-Qaa, al-Qaa and Ras Baalbek in light of the intense clashes in Syria, the source said.
The NNA said the deployment was partly aimed at preventing illegal border crossings.
A Syrian air strike on the outskirts of the Lebanese northeastern town of Arsal had targeted Wednesday a car carrying Syrian refugees, killing a woman and wounding three other people, a local official said.
Arsal Deputy Mayor Ahmad Fliti told The Daily Star that a Syrian warplane fired one rocket into the car carrying the refugees from the Syrian town of Jarajir.
The NNA said 10 people were wounded in the raid in Arsal where thousands of Syrian refugees reside.
Wednesday's raid into Lebanese territory was the second by the Syrian air force this week.
On Monday, two helicopter gunships fired four rockets at Khirbit Daoud, on Arsal's fringes. Minutes earlier, the Lebanese Army had opened fire on a Syrian helicopter gunship that violated Lebanese airspace over the outskirts of Arsal.