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Syria: military offensive near Lebanon

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DAMASCUS - The Syrian army has expanded its offensive on Sunday to Kseir, a town near Lebanon, forcing hundreds of people to flee across the border, on the eve of an unprecedented meeting of a hundred opponents of Damascus.

  •    "Shots were heard at night in the city of Kseir," said the president of the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (OSDH) Rami Abdel Rahman, based in London. "Hundreds of residents fled from Kseir to Lebanon," he said, citing witnesses.

       "Between 350 and 400 people arrived on Friday and Saturday," confirmed Ali Hammoud, the local head of the Lebanese village of Kunaissat, border with Syria.

       They are there "just as a precaution after hearing rumours about a probable spread of violence," he said.

       An accurate assessment of the number of refugees is difficult because no authority, Syrian or Lebanese, is monitoring the border and tens of winding paths, typically used for smuggling.

       Saturday, at least four civilians were killed by security forces, including two in Kseir. The authorities have increased their presence in this village since Friday, making several arrests, according to the OSDH.
        
    Ennaharonline/ M. O.

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