Dozens of Qusayr wounded taken to Lebanon hospitals

AFP , Sunday 9 Jun 2013

At least 87 wounded Syrian fighters and civilians are transported to hospitals in Bekaa, Lebanon after fleeing Qusayr, which fell to Syrian troops Wednesday

Members of Lebanese Red Cross help a wounded Syrian man who was wounded in Qusair, Syria, during battles between the rebels and the Syrian government forces, at a hospital in the Bekaa Valley, east of Beirut, Lebanon, Saturday, June 8, 2013. (Photo: AP)

A total of 87 Syrians wounded in the battle for Qusayr, which ended last week in victory for Syrian regime forces, have been transported to Lebanese hospitals, the Red Cross said on Sunday.

The Lebanese army escorted the wounded in cooperation with local authorities in the embattled Syrian region and the International Committee of the Red Cross, an official said.

"Eighty-seven wounded Syrians were transported by the Lebanese Red Cross from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning to hospitals in Bekaa (east) and to north" in Lebanon, said Georges Kettane, operations director of the Lebanese Red Cross.

"This operation was done under the escort of the Lebanese army and in cooperation with local authorities and the International Committee of the Red Cross."

Dozens of wounded Syrian rebels and civilians have independently made their way across the frontier into Lebanon after the town of Qusayr, a former rebel stronghold, was taken last Wednesday by Syrian regime forces bolstered by fighters of Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah, security sources said.

Most of them arrived in Arsal, a Sunni majority town in eastern Lebanon which backs the rebellion in Syria, before they were transported to hospitals in Bekaa, while others landed in the village of Al-Qasr in northeast Lebanon.

Another 32 wounded Syrian men on Sunday arrived in Minie, a town in northern Lebanon, a security official said.

Many of those who fled Qusayr have arrived across the border in extremely poor condition, a local municipality official in Arsal said.

"Their situation is very bad -- they arrived exhausted. They have nothing. Some came here on foot," said Ahmad al-Hojeiri.

He said a Syrian civilian told him it "took four days to reach Arsal. He was in a state of complete shock. He tried to leave the city with his wife and two children when a shell fell. He lost his family."

Hojeiri said some other Syrian refugees told him "they were eating leaves to survive on the road".

Syrian authorities said on Satursday that government troops had taken control of the entire strategic region of Qusayr, where the UN Security Council has called for an "immediate" humanitarian access.

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