Hezbollah fighters caught a group of Syrian rebel fighters in eastern Lebanon overnight, just east of the city of Baalbek. The rebels were reportedly armed with rocket launchers, though their exact destination was unclear. The ensuing fighting killed at least 12 rebels, and one Hezbollah member.
The exact details varied depending on the media outlet, with al-Mayadeen reporting the ambush killed 17 members of Jabhat al-Nusra, and LBCI reporting that 14 members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) were actually the target.
It is the first major fighting between Hezbollah and Syrian rebels inside Lebanon, and suggests the spillover violence is growing in the wake of Hezbollah’s role in the re-capture of Qusayr, a border town inside Syria.
Since Qusayr, the rebels have made repeated threats to move against the Shi’ite militia, and have fired multiple rockets and artillery against Hezbollah-dominated areas inside Lebanon. Still, turning this into a ground war inside Lebanon as well as Syria would be a significant escalation.
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