Two killed as Syria violence spills over into Lebanon
BEIRUT — Violence from Syria spilled across the nation’s tense border with northern Lebanon, where at least two people were reported killed Saturday, one in a shelling attack from Syria and another in an explosion on the Lebanese side, according to government and media accounts.
Lebanese army troops were dispatched to the border district of Wadi Khaled and put on "high alert," according to the official Lebanese National News Agency.
Across the border from northern Lebanon lies Syria’s strife-ridden Homs province, one of the epicenters of the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The border zone has become a chaotic haven for refugees fleeing Syria and for rebels fighting the Syrian government. The rugged corridor is also a major transit route for smuggled weapons destined for Syrian insurgents.
Syrian authorities have denounced the flow of arms and fighters from Lebanon and have frequently engaged in gun battles with suspected rebels and weapons smugglers.
Shells from the Syrian side Saturday killed a woman and wounded several other people in Wadi Khaled, the Lebanese news agency said. One victim had to have his leg amputated.
In a separate incident, the news agency reported that a young girl was killed and five relatives were injured in an unspecified "explosion" in the Akkar border district.
Local news media reported overnight gun battles in the border area and panicked residents of Wadi Khaled fled from the region.
The Syrian state news service reported that Syrian troops posted close to the Lebanese border had clashed with "terrorists" — the government’s label for armed rebels — and had "foiled infiltration attempts" into Syria. An unspecified number of terrorists were killed and injured, the Syrian news agency said.
It was unclear if the gun battles reported by Syrian authorities were linked to the shelling into Lebanese territory.
-- Alexandra Sandels and Patrick J. McDonnell
Photo: In a photo from the opposition Shaam News Network, a child in a military uniform flashes the victory sign, reportedly at a protest in Kafr Nabil in northwestern Syria on Friday. Credit: Raed Alfares / Shaam News Network