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Arsal security buffeted
following Yabrud assault

BEIRUT – The security situation in the eastern Beqaa town of Arsal came under the spotlight Sunday after Syrian regime troops seized the border town of Yabrud across from Lebanon’s Beqaa region.

 

Lebanon’s state National News Agency reported that the Lebanese Armed Forces detained a group of Syrians carrying military grade weapons and ammunition in the area around Arsal.

 

Shortly before news of the group’s detention, another NNA report said that the LAF had fired at a pick-up truck in the Wadi Raayan area close to Arsal after it refused to stop at a checkpoint, hitting the vehicle a number of times.

 

A Lebanese Armed Forces statement later confirmed that the pick-up had approached Lebanese territory from Syria via a dirt road in Arsal’s outskirts. When the army fired on the car it proceeded to return from where it had come.

 

The army statement added that another pick-up was stopped later in the day in the Wadi Hamid area. The second car, which also came from Syrian territory, was transporting three Syrians carrying an unspecified “quantity of drugs.”

 

Meanwhile, seven dead and over 100 injured people, most of them Syrians from Yabrud, were admitted to a field hospital set up in Arsal.

 

Apart from the above incidents, Syrian warplanes conducted raids on Arsal earlier Sunday, prompting condemnations of terrorism and attacks on the town.

 

The Syrian air force targeted fighters fleeing to Arsal from Syria’s strife-stricken Qalamoun region, killing a number of fighters, the NNA reported.

 

Sunday’s security incidents in the Arsal area come after Syrian troops seized full control of the rebel bastion Yabrud in the strategic Qalamoun region near the Lebanese border, Syrian state media reported.

 

Opposition sources said civilians and activists from the town had fled across the nearby border into Lebanon overnight before Yabrud fell.

The LAF detained a group of Syrians carrying military grade weapons and ammunition near Arsal.