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Lebanon News

Hezbollah battles Syria rebels, four dead

  • File - A tank of the pro-regime forces is seen during alleged operations to take the control of the surrounding areas of the Rankous plain in the Qalamoun region, April 13, 2014. (AFP PHOTO/HO/SANA)

BAALBEK, Lebanon: Clashes between Syrian rebels and Hezbollah on the Lebanese border have killed at least four fighters, a security official said Sunday.

The fighting erupted Saturday in an undemarcated area of the frontier between Qalamoun and Arsal, the Lebanese official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“A Hezbollah fighter was killed and 12 were wounded Saturday night,” he said. “The fighting intensified Sunday evening with three Syrian fighters killed and 10 wounded.”

The long border is often used by smugglers, refugees and fighters.

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights head Rami Abdel Rahman said: “It appears Hezbollah launched the attack in a bid to finish off the pockets of rebel resistance.”

Arsal and the area around it are largely Sunni, and locals sympathize with the Sunni-led uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad.

In April, Syrian forces backed by allied fighters from Hezbollah retook control of most of the Qalamoun region.

But Syrian activists say hundreds of opposition fighters have taken refuge in the caves and hills in the border area, using it as a rear base from which to launch attacks inside Syria.

Last month, Lebanese Army forces carried out raids in the area targeting militants with ties to “terrorist groups”, an army statement said at the time.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 14, 2014, on page 3.
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