Lebanon – Vanguard of the Syrian Civil War

The Hemel Gas Station targeted by a car bomb, courtesy of Reuters
The Hemel Gas Station targeted by a car bomb, courtesy of Reuters

The Syrian Civil War is spilling further south into another proxy battlefield, Lebanon. On February 1st a car bomb at a fuel station ripped through Hermel, Lebanon. This town, nestled in the Bekaa Valley, which Hezbollah strictly controls. Casualties include the driver of the car bomb and three Lebanese killed, and twenty-eight wounded. The Nursa Front, a rebel group from Syria with links to Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility. Minister of the Interior Marwan Charbel, told Reuters that Lebanon was “unstable and getting worse every day”. This attack comes in the wake of a dual suicide bombing at the Iranian Embassy in Beirut in November.

This attack fits into the complex struggle of the Syrian Civil War. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been supported by Shia Hezbollah fighters, trained by Iranians, who have moved further northward in the Levant. This maneuver has been countered by the Syrian Free Army, which has the capricious support of the Al-Qaeda supported Sunni groups, such as the Nursa Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Meanwhile, 900,000 refugees have sought safety from the Syrian conflict by fleeing into Lebanon, further destabilizing the country. This influx of persons and paramilitaries has transformed Lebanon into a legitimate battlefield of the Syrian Civil War.

BBC. “Lebanon car bomb hits Hezbollah stronghold near border.” February 1, 2014. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-26001398

Kalin, Stephen. “Suicide bomber kills three in Lebanese Hezbollah stronghold.” February 1, 2014. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/01/us-lebanon-bomb-idUSBREA100FX20140201.





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