Fighting erupts outside Qalamoun
town, activists say

Qara fighting. (YouTube)
Qara damage. (YouTube)

BEIRUT - Fighting erupted around the town of Qara in Syria’s mountainous Qalamoun region near Lebanon’s border, activists said Friday.


The opposition Sham News Network reported that fierce clashes were raging on the outskirts of the town early Friday afternoon between rebels and regime forces amid aerial bombardment.


“Ongoing shelling is targeting Qara… while [contingents] of regime forces are present outside the town [causing] a state of tension among residents in the highway area near Qara,” the activists added.


The activist group also said that helicopers had targeted the town—which lies on the strategic Damascus-Homs highway—overnight Thursday.


The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, in turn, reported that Syrian regime jets had bombarded Qara overnight with explosive TNT barrels.


It added that fighting also occured on the highway outside the Qalamoun town near the Homs-Damascus highway, with rebels and regime forces both suffering casualties. 


A video posted Thursday on YouTube purportedly shows damage to a home struck by a missile in Qara on Thursday.


Meanwhile, another video posted Friday on YouTube allegedly shows artillery and gunfire heard from Qara amid the battles raging outside the Qalamoun town.


Reports of an “imminent” battle in Qalamoun between opposition fighters on one hand and the Syrian regime and Hezbollah fighters on the other have emerged since September.


However, there have been little signs of a start of a regime military campaign, although figures across Lebanon’s political spectrum have warned of the consequences of fighting spilling over from the Syrian border region into Lebanon.

Gunfire and shelling can be heard in a video purportedly filmed Friday in Qara. (YouTube)

Fierce clashes were raging on the outskirts of the town early Friday afternoon.