A Syrian helicopter is reported to have fired two rockets into the outskirts of the Lebanese town of Ersal in the Bekaa Valley, 20km from the border with Syria. No casualties were reported.
The mayor of the town, which is currently home to thousands of Syrian refugees, told the AFP news agency that the rockets had landed in a residential area, while a Lebanese security source told the news agency that the missiles had also struck close to a checkpoint manned by the Lebanese army.
Although the Lebanese government has officially sought to distance the country from the conflict, ethnic and sectarian links to Syria have raised tensions within the country, and several deadly clashes have taken place between supporters and opponents of the government of Bashar Al-Assad.
The same day as the air strike on Ersal, gunmen reportedly attacked a convoy of trucks bound for Syria in the Lebanese port town of Tripoli, wounding one of the drivers, in the latest in a string of attacks on supplies heading to the Syrian government.
Within Syria itself, intense fighting between government forces and rebels continues. This week, opposition forces are reported to have continued their offensive in the south of the country, capturing a military air defense installation from the government close to the town of Dera’a, near the Jordanian border.
The Reuters news agency reports that the increasingly-beleaguered Syrian government is turning to Iran, one of its few remaining allies, to train members of semi-official local defense militias, possibly in response to ongoing rebel gains and the parlous state of its own resources.
According to the news agency, which claims to have interviewed several Syrians who undertook the training, some members of Syria’s Alawite community and a smaller number of Christians and Druze have received 15 days of training in urban and guerrilla combat at an undisclosed location in Iran.
The governments of Iran and Syria deny the allegations.