Dozens of Syrians cross into Lebanon to escape tank shelling in southern town
Refugees report that Syrian tanks have been shelling the southern village of Tal Kalakh, a day after 6 people were killed by the Syrian army in mass Friday protests.
Around 12 Syrian families, among them two badly-wounded people, fled Saturday to Lebanon's border town of Wadi Khaled, after the Syrian army reportedly started shelling their southern village of Tal Kalakh.
The fleeing Syrians told residents in Wadi Khaled that the Syrian army started attacking the village early Saturday.
A resident in Wadi Khaled told the German Press Agency DPA "we can hear huge blasts rocking the village of Tal Kalakh, (located 5 kilometers from Wadi Khaled)."
One of the Syrians told DPA by phone, "Tal Kalakh is now being attacked by the Syrian army, we brought with us two wounded, but there are many more still stuck inside their houses because of the heavy shelling."
"The army is now shelling the village and will start in the afternoon their arrest raids.." the man, who did not wish to reveal his name for fear of retribution, said.
Around 1000 Syrian refugees fled to Wadi Khaled on April 28, after Syrian troops backed by tanks confronted protesters in Tal Kalakh with gunfire and tank shells.
The border between northern Lebanon and Syria and is predominantly Sunni Muslim - the same sect as the Syrian protesters who have been demonstrating on a daily basis since March 15th to demand more freedoms and protest repression under the regime of President Bashar Assad.
Syrian Human rights activists said more than 750 civilians have been killed since the uprising started.
The United Nation's refugee agency (UNHCR) and the Lebanese Ministry of Social Affairs is currently working on a backup plan to deal with a possible large rise in Syrian families entering Lebanon.
Syrian security forces opened fire on thousands of protesters Friday, killing at least six people as soldiers tried to head off demonstrations. Government forces first fired in the air, then shot directly into the crowd as protesters continued their way.
In Damascus, security forces fired tear gas in the Zahra neighborhood, forcing scores of people to disperse. In nearby Mazzeh, protesters ran away when security forces arrived. In Muhajereen, security forces used batons to scatter dozens of people, activists said.
On Friday, Britain summoned Syria's ambassador to warn that new sanctions will target the regime's hierarchy if Assad does not halt the country's violent crackdown on protesters.