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Aid arrives to remote Lebanese village cut off by Syria and Hezbollah

Source: Reuters - Wed, 23 Apr 2014 14:01 GMT
Author: Reuters
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BEIRUT, April 23 (Reuters) - Aid has arrived to a Lebanese village that has been cut off for months as Lebanon's border areas are increasingly dragged into Syria's three-year-long conflict.

A remote Sunni village of roughly 2,000 people, Tfail is surrounded on three sides by Syria, and the primary route to the rest of Lebanon goes through its neighbour.

Troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have blocked the road and bombed the village, which is suspected of supporting the rebels, and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah has also blocked the village from the Lebanese side.

Sunni Muslims in Lebanon overwhelmingly support the majority Sunni rebels. Shi'ite Hezbollah sent fighters to support Assad, who comes from the Alawite off-shoot of Shi'ite Islam. Sunni Lebanese militants have also fought alongside rebels in Syria.

Sunni rebels are suspected of hiding in Tfail and Syrian aircraft often bomb Lebanese villages on the border. Thousands of Syrian refugees have also flooded in, fleeing the army advance.

The Lebanese Red Cross says it was able to deliver aid on Tuesday to Tfail using an unpaved and dusty road that stays inside Lebanon, but the residents remain cut off.

Director of Operations George Kettani did not say when there would be further attempts to reach the village.

Residents waited to greet the arrival of aid convoy in the main square, a Reuters photographer who accompanied the convoy said.

Wounded men, women and children were treated and those with serious injuries were evacuated by medics in off-road vehicles.

The life-line of food and medicine was agreed after negotiations between Sunni and Shi'ite clerics and Lebanese security officials, a rare sign of cooperation between the two sects battling in Syria's war. (Reporting by Oliver Holmes; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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