Syria Bombs Bridge to Prevent Refugees from Fleeing to Lebanon

Syrian regime forces bombed on Tuesday a bridge used by refugees fleeing to Lebanon from the central province of Homs, cutting off a key escape route to evacuate the wounded, a monitoring group said.

"Regime forces on Tuesday bombarded a bridge near Qusayr, in Homs province, which is used by refugees and the wounded fleeing to Lebanon," Rami Abdel Rahman, of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told Agence France Presse.

Hadi Abdallah, a Syrian activist in Homs, said the bridge was the main route used to evacuate the wounded from the battered city, which has suffered a relentless onslaught by regime forces.

"The bridge was hit by artillery shells," said Abdallah, reached by telephone from Beirut. "It can no longer be used.

"It was the main route used to transport the wounded," he added.

Around 2,000 Syrians, mainly women and children, have crossed into Lebanon in recent days, fleeing the violence in Homs, U.N. and local officials said.

Dana Suleiman, of the United Nations refugee agency, told AFP that 170 families had sought refuge in the border Lebanese village of el-Fakha, located in the eastern Bekaa valley, and 50 others were in the nearby town of Arsal.

"We are trying to verify whether there are additional people in other areas and how many have returned to Syria," Suleiman said.

She said the UNHCR, in cooperation with local non-governmental organizations, was sending food, blankets and other aid to the refugees.

Ahmed Moussa, a spokesman for the Committee of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon, said some 65 families had arrived in northern Lebanon on Monday, some of them having moved on from the Bekaa.

He said the majority were from Homs and Qusayr.

Source: Agence France Presse

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