Syria helicopters carry out raids on Lebanon border

AFP , Wednesday 5 Mar 2014

Syrian military helicopters launched multiple raids on areas inside Lebanon near the border town of Arsal on Wednesday, witnesses and Lebanon's official news agency said.

On Wednesday morning, helicopters carried out raids in the largely unpopulated mountainous areas on the outskirts of Arsal near the border with Syria, witnesses told AFP.

It was unclear if there were any casualties in the attacks, which Lebanon's National News Agency said hit the areas of Khirbet Yunin and Wadi Ajram.

Later on Wednesday afternoon, NNA reported additional raids around Arsal, which it said had caused injuries, but gave no details.

Elsewhere, two rockets fired from Syria hit an uninhabited area near Nabi Sheet in eastern Lebanon, a security source said.

Syrian warplanes and helicopters regularly carry out air strikes and rocket attacks in the border area inside Lebanese territory.

In December, the Lebanese army used its air defence systems against Syrian helicopters after one such attack in the Arsal area.

That was believed to be the first time the Lebanese army had responded to a raid, although it had previously said it would do so.

Arsal's residents support the revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and the town is hosting tens of thousands of refugees, including a recent influx driven out by a new offensive just across the border in the Qalamun region.

The Arsal area has long been home to smuggling routes that are used by opposition forces to move fighters and weapons back and forth between Lebanon and Syria.

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