Syrian Army Offensive Sparks New Refugee Exodus to Lebanon

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

A Syrian army offensive in the Qalamun mountains between Damascus and the Lebanese border has sparked an exodus of more than 2,700 refugees, the U.N. refugee agency said on Friday.

The new exodus adds to nearly one million Syrians who have already sought refuge in Lebanon from the three-year conflict in their homeland, according to U.N. figures.

"The new arrivals are coming from the towns of Sahel, Jreijeer, Flita and Yabrud in Qalamun region, where military operations are reported to have escalated in the last two days," the UNHCR tweeted.

Troops backed by Hizbullah fighters launched an offensive on Wednesday aimed at retaking Qalamun's largest town Yabrud from rebels, who have been joined by jihadist fighters in recent days.

The assault has been accompanied by more than two dozen air strikes on Yabrud and its surroundings, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

On Friday morning alone, an activist who gave his name only as Amer said five air strikes had hit the Yabrud area.

Amateur video distributed by activists showed fleeing families riding on the back of pick-up trucks winding through mountain roads, presumably towards Lebanon.

The Qalamun region commands the main highway between Damascus and Syria's battleground third city Homs, as well as supply routes across the border.

According to activists, Yabrud was home to some 30,000 people before the uprising erupted in March 2011, but its population has more than trebled to 100,000 as people have sought refuge from fighting in other areas.

Comments 2
Thumb cedre 14 February 2014, 20:27

3rd HA/SAA offensive will have same results as the 2 previous ones, ie refugees but no military victory.
Bashar didn't learn anything from Astan...

Thumb cedre 14 February 2014, 22:33