Long before Syria's civil war broke out, the Lebanese border town of Arsal was known as a hub of smuggling activity. The surrounding mountainous terrain is perfect for sneaking contraband of all sorts between Lebanon and neighboring Syria — and that's why Arsal has become a focal point for Lebanese security agencies, Hezbollah, refugees, foreign jihadists, Syrian opposition fighters, and the Syrian regime.
This week, Syrian warplanes fired missiles at the outskirts of the town shortly before the Nusra Front launched grenades
into Arsal from across the border in Syria. Arsal is the lone Sunni
Muslim village in Lebanon’s predominately Shiite Bekaa Valley, and the
local population of about 35,000 is sympathetic to opposition forces
fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad — a combination that
makes it a target several times over.
A man I meet named Abu
Hussein is perched on a couch in his modest apartment in central Arsal,
sitting on his feet while smoking a cigarette. Four of his brothers are
currently in Yabroud, just across the border, fighting against Syrian
forces with the Islamic Front’s Farouk Brigades. Hussein isn't avoiding
the conflict, however — he's busy smuggling fighters in and out of
read more: https://news.vice.com/articles/the-lebanese-border-town-in-the-middle-of-syria-s-civil-war