Abu Abbas is just one of an estimated 2,000 Syrian refugees to escape since the weekend to Lebanon, which is coming under increasing pressure to aid those fleeing Assad's brutal regime.
A narrow but dense belt of orange orchards strung along Syria’s border with northeast Lebanon has become a deadly hurdle to be crossed by desperate Syrian refugees escaping the violence in the city of Homs and surrounding towns.
Refugees newly arrived in Lebanon recount horror stories of Army troops and pro-regime Shabiha militiamen chasing fleeing Syrians through the orchards and executing them on the spot. Many of the newly arrived refugees are from the town of Qusayr, five miles north of the Lebanese border, which has been shelled and plagued by snipers for several weeks.
“People are thinking if I stay in Qusayr, I’m going to die, so I have nothing to lose by trying to reach the Lebanese border,” says Abu Abbas, a resident of Qusayr who fled the besieged town with his family 10 days ago. “We couldn’t live there any longer. The shelling was nonstop. They were using everything against us – rockets, mortars, machine guns.”
IN PICTURES: Conflict in Syria
Lebanon, which has long lived under the shadow of its powerful neighbor, has opted for a policy of disassociation with the crisis in Syria. But as the violence worsens in Syria and the flow of refugees increases, Beirut may find that it can no longer ignore the crisis on its doorstep.
Page 1 of 4