Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat—Several villages on the Syrian side of the border with Lebanon have been targeted over the past four days, as the violence in Syria continues to spill over into the country.
The shelling came as a car bomb in a Hezbollah stronghold of the Lebanese capital, Beirut, killed five people and injured at least fifty others on Thursday.
Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shi’ite militia and political party, has been sending forces to fight in the Syrian war alongside embattled President Bashar Al-Assad.
On Thursday, the Lebanese army was deployed along the borders with Syria and was “setting up new posts in the Beqaa, Mashari and Ras Baalbek areas,” the state-run National News Agency (NNA) reported.
The deployment came a day after several shells from the Syrian army fell on the volatile border village of Arsal, a Lebanese town that has suffered repeated attacks during the nearly three-year-long Syrian war.
The Lebanese Al-Mayadeen TV channel, whose audience is largely sympathetic to Hezbollah and Assad, reported additional shelling along the Anti-Lebanon Mountains from the Syrian side, as Assad’s troops targeted rebels in the area.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on condition of anonymity, a Syrian opposition source said that Hezbollah had stepped up its presence along the borders, sending “reinforcements to northern Qalamoun from the southern side of Al-Qusayr.”
The Shi’ite militia has sent additional reinforcements along the entire 90-mile-long (150-kilometer-long) Syrian side of the Anti-Lebanon range.
Describing an earlier attack, the Syrian opposition source said: “Opposition fighters, including Islamists, launched a sudden attack on the Syrian town of Jossieh along the Lebanese border on December 31, causing heavy damage to Syrian regime forces.”
According to the source, violent clashes between the government and the rebels who came from the Qalamoun area continued for four hours.
Militants were reported to have attacked the strategic town of Al-Qusayr from the towns of Jossieh in Syria and Abbodia in Lebanon.
Last June, Syrian government forces captured Al-Qusayr with the help of Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia. The town’s strategic significance comes from its position along an important supply route.
The loss of Al-Qusayr was a direct blow to rebel groups, which have been weakened by the growing involvement of the Shi’ite militia.