4 Dead, 22 Hurt as Hizbullah Fights Syria Rebels in Border Area

Clashes between Syrian rebels and Hizbullah on the Lebanese border have killed at least four fighters, a security official said Sunday.

The fighting erupted on Saturday in an undemarcated area of the frontier between Qalamun in Syria and Arsal in Lebanon’s Bekaa region, the Lebanese official told Agence France Presse, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"A Hizbullah fighter was killed and 12 were wounded on Saturday night," he said. "The fighting intensified on Sunday evening with three Syrian fighters killed and 10 wounded."

Meanwhile, Lebanon’s National News Agency said the bodies of three Syrians killed in the clashes and 10 wounded fighters were transferred to a field hospital in Arsal.

The long and porous border is often used by smugglers, refugees and fighters.

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights head Rami Abdel Rahman said: "It appears Hizbullah launched the attack in a bid to finish off the pockets of rebel resistance."

Arsal and the area around it are largely sympathetic with the Sunni-led uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad.

In April, Syrian forces backed by allied fighters from Hizbullah retook control of most of the Qalamun region.

But Syrian activists say hundreds of opposition fighters have taken refuge in the caves and hills in the border area, using it as a rear base from which to launch attacks inside Syria.

Last month, Lebanese Army forces carried out raids in the area targeting militants with ties to "terrorist groups", an army statement said at the time.

Source: Agence France Presse, Naharnet

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