Tumult in Akkar over Reports of Death of Lebanese 'Gunmen' in Homs
Several families in the northern Lebanese border towns of Mashta Hassan and Mashta Hammoud have received information that two Lebanese citizens and a Syrian man were killed and two Syrians wounded when they came under gunfire on the al-Jaafariyat bridge in the Syrian town of Tal Kalakh, Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency reported Sunday, as another report spoke of a 9-strong Lebanese armed group led by an Iraqi man.
NNA said the “unconfirmed reports have sparked a major tumult in both border towns, to which local and foreign media outlets have flocked in a bid to scrutinize the authenticity of these reports.”
According to the Lebanese news agency, the rapidly spreading reports have claimed that among those killed were “Syrian citizen M. A. D., who owns a pastry shop in the Lebanese town of Mashta Hassan, Lebanese citizen Kh. N. S. from the town of Mashta Hammoud and Lebanese citizen M. D. from the town of Mashta Hassan.”
The two wounded Syrians, who were detained by the Syrian authorities, have not been identified yet according to the reports.
The residents of the two Lebanese towns “are still trying to confirm the reports, although the aforementioned individuals have recently vanished without making any contact with their families,” NNA said.
Meanwhile, OTV reported that “an armed group led by an Iraqi man and comprising nine Lebanese members had infiltrated Syria through the Lebanese-Syrian border.”
“The Syrian army ambushed the group on the Tal Kalakh-Safita intersection (in Homs province), killing at least 4 members of the group and wounding several others,” OTV said.
For his part, head of Mashta Hammoud Municipality Naji Ramadan told LBC television that “it is normal that Lebanese individuals be killed in Syria given the non-demarcated border areas and the spike in violence” in revolt-hit Syria.
Ramadan confirmed the death of “a Lebanese and a Syrian,” declining to give further information.
On January 19, Syria’s official news agency SANA said Syrian security forces killed three members of a "terrorist group" as they tried to enter the country from neighboring Lebanon.
"The security forces of Syria clashed … with a terrorist group trying to infiltrate the country across the border with Lebanon in the Tal Kalakh area and killed three of them," the agency said.
At least 5,400 people have been killed in a crackdown by the Syrian regime on dissent since March, according to the United Nations.
The regime does not recognize the scale of the protest movement that erupted in mid-March, insisting it is fighting "terrorist groups" seeking to sow chaos as part of a foreign-hatched conspiracy.