Lebanon News

Syrian jets bomb farm fields in north Lebanon

A general view of Arsal, northeastern Bekaa, Monday, June 18, 2012. (The Daily Star/Rakan al-Fakih)

BEIRUT: Two Syrian warplanes bombed farm fields belonging to a border town in northeast Lebanon Monday, high-ranking Lebanese security sources told The Daily Star, in an unprecedented aerial shelling by Syria of Lebanese territory since the end of the 1975-90 Civil War.

The farm fields of Khirbet Dawoud, 10 kilometers inside Lebanese territory, were the target of the aerial attack by the MiG-type aircrafts, the sources said.

Following the aerial bombardment, Syrian reconnaissance planes and helicopters flew over the area for a brief period of time.

Khirbet Dawoud is part of the Arsal region which shares 50 kilometers of border with Syria. The area is also described as the main point for arms smuggling between Arsal and Syrian territory.

Security and official sources in the area said no casualties have been reported.

The security sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said three rockets were fired in the incident and that the Lebanese Army headed to the site immediately following the attack, which took place at around 10.30 a.m.

The raid comes following an attack by rebels on a Syrian Army checkpoint near that border area Sunday night which left four soldiers and one officer dead.

Earlier this month, Syrian warplanes and helicopters flew at low altitudes over the northern region of Wadi Khaled.

North Lebanon border villages have also come under shelling from the Syrian side of the border on several occasions. Some of the attacks have led to deaths and material damage.

Following last month's attacks on border villages that wounded one Lebanese soldier, Prime Minister Najib Mikati instructed Lebanon’s Ambassador to Syria Michel Khoury to send a letter of complaint to Syria’s Foreign Ministry about “the continuous shelling of Lebanese border towns from nearby Syrian military bases.”

Hours after Monday morning’s attack, Kataeb Party MP Sami Gemayel called on the Lebanese Army to swiftly respond to any Syrian shelling of Lebanese territory.

“It is not acceptable for the army to stand by with regard to such violations against Lebanese territories and the people without doing anything about them," Gemayel said in a news conference held at the Grand Serail in the capital.

"We ask the army to immediately respond to any Syrian shelling. It is its national duty to defend the land," he added.

The lawmaker also urged the Lebanese Cabinet to assume its responsibilities regarding the continuous breaches of Lebanon’s sovereignty.

“The Lebanese can no longer live in light of such tensions,” said the Kataeb official.

The opposition March 14 coalition, which opposes President Bashar Assad, has called for the deployment of U.N. peacekeepers along the border with Syria, which is estimated to be around 550 kilometers long, to put an end to Syrian violations of Lebanon’s territory.





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