The Syrian Civil War has crossed the Lebanese border again, as al-Nusra fighters clashed with Hezbollah in eastern Lebanon yesterday, the NYT reports:
At least 16 insurgents from the Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s wing in Syria, were killed in clashes with the Shiite group Hezbollah in eastern Lebanon on Sunday as the Nusra Front launched a major offensive, a person close to Hezbollah said.
Hundreds of Sunni Muslim insurgents from the Nusra Front attacked at least 10 Hezbollah bases along a mountain range close to the Syrian border, and killed two Hezbollah fighters, in the latest spillover of violence from the civil war next door in Syria. […]Armed with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades, the insurgents attacked a large area stretching from south of the town of Baalbek to areas close to the border town of Arsal.
The threat to Lebanon’s border is ongoing (and unlikely to recede):
Violence from Syria has often spread into Arsal and surrounding areas, which are also trying to deal with tens of thousands of Syrian refugees.In August, fighters with the Islamic State and the Nusra Front stormed Arsal, killing at least 10 members of the Lebanese military and capturing more than a dozen others. They have since killed at least three of the captive soldiers and are holding an unknown number of others.
Along with Jordan, Lebanon is one of the two moderate Muslim nations caught in an unenviable position by the Syrian Civil War. Should either country become destabilized, the chaos in the region will grow dramatically worse. Keep an eye on these canaries in the Levantine coal mine, which are starting to look more sickly by the day.