Syria air force pounds Lebanon town: officials



BEIRUT- Syria's air force pounded a rural area near the town of Arsal in eastern Lebanon for the second time in 24 hours on Thursday, officials said.
"I can confirm there was a raid," said Ahmad Fliti, deputy head of the council in the majority Sunni Muslim town in northeastern Lebanon.
"Several ambulances travelled immediately to the affected area to transfer the wounded to clinics and hospitals," Fliti told AFP, adding it was unclear how many people were hurt.



Syria air force pounds Lebanon town: officials
A security official confirmed reports of the attack, and a Lebanese Red Cross said the organisation took four wounded away from the scene.
The raid came a day after Syrian jets bombed Sarjal Ajram, the same area that was struck on Thursday.
Residents of Arsal mostly support the uprising in neighbouring Syria against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
"In the past, many Syrians have entered into Lebanon via this area. Many were refugees and others were injured being transported into Lebanon. Smugglers also use this route to enter and exit Syria," said Fliti.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the Red Cross official said five wounded Syrians were transported into Lebanon on Thursday, after fierce clashes near Shiite villages in Qusayr just inside Syria.
The battles pitted Syrian regime troops and powerful Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah against anti-Damascus rebels, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
After Wednesday's air strike, the office of Lebanon's President Michel Sleiman said there was no military target in the area "and that there were no reasons or justifications for it".
The statement also referred to cross-border shelling of northern Lebanon, without specifying when.
Syrian warplanes bombarded northern Lebanon for the first time in the country's spiralling two-year conflict on March 18, a Lebanese army official and a US official said, although Damascus denied responsibility.
Frequent cross-border shelling has also struck areas of northern and eastern Lebanon.
Also on Thursday, five Shiites were abducted in eastern Lebanon, after a wave of tit-for-tat sectarian kidnappings broke out last month. Three Sunnis from Arsal were kidnapped in revenge.
Syria's conflict has further entrenched deep divisions in Lebanon.
While Lebanon's Sunni-led March 14 movement supports the rebels, the powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah and its allies back Assad's regime.
Damascus has called on Lebanon to tighten its border controls, accusing Beirut of allowing rebels to smuggle in arms and fighters.
Syria dominated Lebanon politically and militarily until 2005, and has continued through its allies to exert significant influence on the country.
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Friday, April 12th 2013
AFP
           


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