Last updated: 9 May, 2012

Syria forces’ cross-border fire kills Lebanese woman

Syrian security forces have killed an elderly Lebanese woman and wounded her daughter in a cross-border shooting, a Lebanese official said on Wednesday.

The woman, in her 70s, was “shot dead yesterday by Syrian regime forces from the other side of the border with Syria while she was visiting her family near a mosque,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

Her daughter was wounded and is now recovering, he told AFP.

The woman was killed in Masharia Al-Qaa which is situated along the Lebanese-Syria border near the embattled town of Qusayr in Syria’s central Homs province.

Qusayr itself has suffered frequent attacks by Syrian regime forces who have clashed there with rebel forces. Parts of Qusayr, an anti-regime stronghold, are under rebel control.

Government forces cracking down on a 14-month uprising in Syria have opened fire several times into neighbouring Lebanon, killing a television cameraman on one occasion. Turkey has also experienced similar shootings.

“Syrian regime forces frequently shoot into our side of the border… sometimes they shoot at anything that moves, arbitrarily,” the local Lebanese official said.

“In recent days, regime troops have crossed the border and temporarily occupied uninhabited farm houses,” he added.

In previous shootings, Syrian forces have said they were targeting armed rebels and people crossing illegally from Lebanon into the strife-torn country.

On April 9, Lebanon’s Al-Jadeed satellite television channel said Syrian soldiers shot dead its cameraman Ali Shaaban by opening fire on its TV crew which was on the Lebanese side of the border.

The channel’s reporter Hussein Khreiss, who was with Shaaban, said the team came under fire “from the Syrian side” as they were taking footage of Syrian territory from inside Lebanon.

He said the shooting, which was condemned by top Lebanese leaders, took place even though the television team had “greeted the Syrian forces guarding the borders.”

The Syrian state news agency SANA said the Al-Jadeed team came under fire as border guards opened fire in retaliation to an attack by “terrorist groups.”

On April 9, four Syrians and two Turks were wounded in shooting from the Syrian side at a Syrian refugee camp inside Turkey.

Two days later, shots were fired by Syrian forces at a refugee camp near the town of Kilis.

Several television stations reported that troops had fired at Syrians trying to cross no man’s land on the frontier to seek refuge in Turkey from the violence.

Turkey, a one-time ally of the Damascus regime but now one of its strongest critics, is home to thousands of Syrians in several camps set up in three provinces.