WASHINGTON — The United Nations has now officially warned sides of the Syrian civil war that they’re watching the developments along the Syria-Lebanon border. Reuters reports that Syrian government troops under Bashar al-Assad are fighting with reinforcements from Hezbollah.
Hezbollah, which only hinted it was going to enter the Syrian civil war, is now an official participant. They took heavy casualties in the border city of Qusair this past week as entrenched Syrian rebels stood their ground. Casualties and bodies were seen moving back to Lebanon after heavy fighting.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said, “The eyes of the world are upon them, and … they will be held accountable for any acts of atrocity carried out against the civilian population of Qusair”. He called on both sides to allow some 30,000 civilians to evacuate, but to no avail.
Some U.N. estimates say that 1,500 wounded civilians are trapped in the besieged border city and worry that medical aid and care will not reach them in time.
Russia continues to support the Assad regime, along with Iran, while the West supports the rebels. Britain and France successfully pushed to lift the European Union embargo on supplying rebels with weapons, to which Russia publicly said it is now worried about an “arms race” developing in Syria.
The border region is crucial because it allows for Assad’s troops to have a lifeline to Lebanon and the shoreline to the Mediterranean, in addition to Hezbollah reinforcements. Rebel troops have fired rockets into Lebanon as a warning shot, which hurt no one but still proved their point.