TRIPOLI, Lebanon - Dozens of wounded Syrian rebels crossed over a river into Lebanon on Thursday after government soldiers ambushed them as they tried to flee a besieged area, Lebanese medical sources said.

The ambush was part of a campaign by the Syrian army and allied militias to secure towns and villages along the Lebanese border as well as a highway from the capital Damascus to the coast that is vulnerable to rebel attack.

The rebels were fleeing the area of al-Hosn in Homs province, which the Syrian army has surrounded, the medical sources said. Syrian state television said soldiers had killed 11 rebels to escape al-Hosn.

The sources said that 41 wounded rebels were taken into a hospital in north Lebanon. A further eight were carried in dead or succumbed to their wounds after managing to escape Syria into Wadi Khaled, said the medical sources - a hospital employee and a medic who requested anonymity.

As the fighters fled, Syrian army shells hit villages in Wadi Khaled, Lebanon's National News Agency said.


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