HERMEL, Lebanon: The Syrian army Friday shot and killed two shepherds on the outskirts of the Bekaa Valley border town of Majdal Anjar, security sources told The Daily Star.
The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, identified one of the victims as Yasser Mohammad Yaseen, who comes from Majdal Anjar. The other victim was Yaseen’s cousin, whose father was a Syrian national.
Majdal Anjar residents pleaded with security forces to recover the shepherds’ bodies. Their deaths mark the first time that the Syrian army has targeted this particular area in the Bekaa.
Cross-border strikes from the Syrian side have become a near-daily occurrence as the violence increasingly spills over into Lebanon.
Syrian airstrikes hit the Lebanese border areas of Arsal and Wadi Khaled Thursday, sparking the anger of locals and prompting officials to call on the state to protect Lebanon’s frontiers with Syria. The airstrikes also wounded a Syrian refugee child.
The attacks targeting Arsal came as Syrian troops, backed by Hezbollah fighters, drove rebels out of the Syrian town of Yabroud, which is close to the border with Lebanon.
Regime troops also captured a famous Crusader castle from Syrian rebels Thursday. Crac des Chevaliers lies a few kilometers from north Lebanon.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 22, 2014, on page 3.