11 rebels killed fleeing famed Crusader fort

March 20, 2014 - 2:00:17 pm

DAMASCUS: Syrian troops killed 11 rebels as they fled the village of Al-Hosn, home to famed Crusader castle Krak des Chevaliers, for the nearby Lebanese border Thursday, a military source said.

"During the operations in the Al-Hosn area, armed men (rebels) tried to flee for Lebanese territory. They fell to an ambush laid by the army, and 11 armed men were killed," the source told AFP.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported 60 people "killed or injured as they fled areas of Al-Hosn for the Syrian border with Lebanon."

The Britain-based group was unable to confirm a precise death toll, but said that among the casualties there were both civilians and rebel fighters.

Fierce fighting was continuing inside Al-Hosn, it added.

The reports came as both civilians and rebel fighters fleeing for Lebanon came under fire by the Syrian army as they crossed the river dividing the two countries, a Lebanese security source said.

Forty-five people were wounded in the shelling and taken for treatment in hospitals in several areas of northern Lebanon, the source added.

Some were wounded on the Syrian side of the border, others on the Lebanese side.

Tank fire on Lebanon's Wadi Khaled border district sparked fires which burned down at least one home, the source said.

The mainly Sunni Muslim area, whose residents are largely sympathetic to the rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has come under frequent cross-border shelling by his forces.

It is home to thousands of families who have fled the three-year-old conflict. (AFP)