Syrian air raids hit Lebanese border region

by Reuters
Wednesday, 5 March 2014 08:13 GMT

BEIRUT, March 5 (Reuters) - Syria carried out air raids inside Lebanon on Wednesday close to the Syrian border and near one of the last rebel-held Syrian border towns, Lebanese security sources said.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damages from the air strikes, which the sources said appeared to be linked to a Syrian military offensive against the rebel stronghold of Yabroud.

Syrian journalists who were taken on a state-organised tour of government-held areas around Yabroud on Tuesday heard gunfire and saw jets flying overhead as troops fought on the edges of the town.

The offensive is part of a military campaign by President Bashar al-Assad's forces, backed by Lebanese Shi'ite Hezbollah militants, to drive rebels from the border region and secure territory linking Assad's coastal bastions with Damascus.

The fighting has frequently spilled across the ill-defined frontier between the two countries. The mainly Sunni Muslim rebels have targeted Shi'ite Muslim towns inside Lebanon in response to Hezbollah's support for Assad, while Sunni areas sympathetic to the rebels have also come under fire.

(Writing by Dominic Evans; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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