Conflict & Justice

Lebanese fighters killed inside Syria


Lebanese Hezbollah supporters wave the movement's yellow flags and hold up the Syrian flag decorated with an image of President Bashar al-Assad as they listen to a televised speech by Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah to mark the sixth anniversary of the 2006 war with Israel in southern Beirut on July 18, 2012.


Anwar Amro

Syrian security forces killed as many as 20 Lebanese fighters who were fighting alongside rebels in Syria on Friday.

Lebanese security officials said the gunmen were killed trying to enter the Syrian town of Tal Kalakh, near the country's border with Lebanon, reported the Associated Press. Some reports, including those from state-run Syrian media, put the number of dead at 17. The Lebanese fighters were Sunni Muslims, as are the majority of Syrian rebels. President Bashar al-Assad, along with his most elite troops, is from the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

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"Young Islamists from different parts of the city left Tripoli this morning (Friday) and were killed in an ambush in Tal Kalakh by regime forces," an Islamist leader in the city told Agence France-Presse. "According to our information, they were summarily executed and not killed in combat."

A group of 30 rebels "were caught in an ambush by government troops in the area of Tal Sarin near the town of Tal Kalakh," AFP also reported. Two brothers from the neighborhood, whose father is a cleric, were among the dead.

Syrian soldiers fought rebels on Friday in and around the country's capital, as internet and most telephone lines were cut off for a second day, the AP noted. The battles around the Damascus international airport, however, seemed to have calmed.