SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

August 29, 2013

Fears of Western strike on Syria spread in Mideast

(Continued)

But with many seeing Western intervention no longer a question of if but when, there were signs of growing fears across the wider region.

At least 6,000 Syrians crossed into Lebanon in a 24-hour period through the main Masnaa crossing, including an estimated 4,000 on Wednesday, according to Lebanese security officials in the country’s Bekaa Valley near the border. The normal daily influx is 500 to 1,000 refugees, depending on the level of fighting. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

Long lines of packed cars — some with suitcases strapped to roofs — were backed up at the frontier post, witnesses said. A security official said about 2,000 also crossed into Syria, but many of them said they were going in to evacuate relatives.

One woman, Um Ahmad, entered Lebanon with her five children, saying she fearing U.S. strikes on Damascus.

“Isn’t it enough, all the violence and fighting that we already have in the country, now America wants to bomb us, too?” the 45-year-old said, declining to give her full name for security concerns.

Her husband said they know no one in Lebanon but came anyway because of their children. “What will we do here, where will we go? I don’t know, but hopefully we’ll be safe,” he added.

Nearly 2 million Syrians have fled the country since the crisis began in March 2011, and millions more are displaced inside Syria.

Effects were also evident in Israel, where large crowds lined up at gas-mask distribution centers. Maya Avishai of the Israeli postal service, which oversees gas mask distribution, said demand has tripled in recent days. About 5 million Israelis, roughly 60 percent of the population, now have gas masks, she said.

The Israeli government ordered a “limited” call-up of reserve units to bolster civil defense preparations and to operate air-defense units near the border. Officials said the call-up is anticipated to bring in hundreds of troops.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • 140765_SN_DLE_FESSENDEN4 Special Spaces transforms two downstairs rooms into playroom for Riley Fessenden

    BEVERLY -- What happens when the perfect kid-friendly playroom appears in your house overnight? Beverly's Fessenden kids were mostly speechless when they returned from seeing "The Little Mermaid" on Saturday and got their first look at the playroom t

    July 28, 2014 10 Photos

  • Beverly Hospital courier loses patients’ lab forms

    BEVERLY -- A courier for Beverly Hospital last month lost lab request forms for 54 patients that included names, health insurance identification numbers and, in some cases, Social Security numbers. The courier misplaced the forms, which were in a zip

    July 28, 2014

  • Big plans for three parks in the Point neighborhood SALEM -- One will be overhauled, another created from scratch, and a third will get a spiffed-up community garden. It's a good time to be a park in the Point neighborhood. The densely packed area just south of the city's downtown is on the verge of i

    July 28, 2014

  • Peabody could see school choice profit next year PEABODY -- After three years, the city's schools are projected not only to break even on school choice, but actually make a $30,000 profit. School officials expect to lose just under $300,000 in state aid next year for students who opt to attend scho

    July 28, 2014

  • 140723_SN_DLE_SALVARMY2 Dennis and Susan Knight take over Salem Salvation Army operation

    SALEM -- It was Christmas Eve in Sanford, Maine, but 8-year-old Dennis Knight and his three sisters had good reason to be short on holiday spirit: Their mom and dad had warned them there would be no Christmas that year. The family couldn't afford it.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos