Syrian helicopters carry out raids on Lebanon border

Syrian helicopters carry out raids on Lebanon border

BEIRUT - Agence France-Presse
Syrian helicopters carry out raids on Lebanon border

Syrian refugees who fled the violence from the Qalamoun area are seen at the Lebanese border town of Arsal in the eastern Bekaa valley Feb 17. REUTERS photo

Syrian military helicopters launched three raids on areas inside Lebanon near the border town of Arsal on March 5 morning, witnesses and Lebanon's official news agency said.

Helicopters carried out the 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 raids, which Lebanon's National News Agency said hit the areas of Khirbet Yunin and Wadi Ajram.

Elsewhere, two rockets fired from Syria landed in 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.