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Source: Woman dies in Lebanon after fleeing Syrian security

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From Nada Husseini, CNN
May 15, 2011 — Updated 1518 GMT (2318 HKT)
Syrians flee to Lebanon
 
(CNN) — A wounded Syrian woman died of her injuries after being brought into Lebanon as she fled Syrian security forces, a Lebanese security source told CNN Sunday.

She was one of at least 10 wounded Syrians — including a young girl and a five-year-old boy — being treated in Lebanese hospitals, the source said.

It’s at least the second death of a Syrian in Lebanon this weekend, according to local sources, as Damascus continues a military crackdown on anti-government protests.

Reports from non-governmental organizations suggest that somewhere between 700 and 850 people have been killed since the start of the protests and thousands of other people have reportedly been arrested, the United Nations said Friday.

About 1,000 Syrians have fled into Lebanon, according to Melissa Fleming, a spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

The border village of Heleyfeh in Syria is surrounded by tanks, and 60 families from the village fled to the Lebanese border villages of Debabiyeh, Kwayshra and Annoura, the Lebanese source said Sunday.

A Lebanese army soldier was slightly wounded by a stray bullet from Syria at the Lebanese-Syrian border in Bekayaa, north Lebanon, Lebanon’s army said Sunday.

Mostapha Khodor Nouaimi was injured in the foot, treated in a hospital, and released, the Lebanese army information directorate said.

The soldier is part of a joint security unit at the border, according to the Lebanese army.

Syrian soldiers on Saturday shelled Tal Kalakh, a town near the Lebanese border, witnesses told CNN. Intermittent gunfire could be heard into the evening from the Lebanese northern border village of Wadi Khalid.

One man died and his body was returned to Syria in a funeral procession, residents said.

Ambulances for the Red Cross stood by to transfer the injured to Lebanese hospitals.

About 700 people from Syria fled to the northern Lebanese village of Mkaybleh, the mayor of the village said Saturday. Those fleeing were mostly women and children, said Mahamoud Khazaal, the mayor.

Fleming, the spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said Saturday that the Syrian refugees are being hosted by people they know in Lebanon, such as friends and relatives.

As such, she said, “there’s been no request for humanitarian assistance,” but there are contingency plans if needed.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has ordered government officials to assess the needs of the Syrians taking refuge in Lebanese villages.

Demonstrations have rippled across the country since mid-March, and protesters demanding political freedoms have been met by a powerful security crackdown.

Violent clashes after demonstrations on Friday left at least four people dead, a human rights advocate said.

According to Ammar Qurabi, chairman of the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria, three were killed by gunfire from security forces during those clashes.

The regime has blamed armed groups for the violence. Minister of Information Adnan Mahmoud said on Friday that 98 soldiers and security forces and 22 police have been killed, according to the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency.

But the demonstrators, emboldened by the tough crackdown and the mass anti-government rallies in other Arab nations this year, have blamed killings on the government.

President Bashar al-Assad has responded to grievances by lifting the country’s 48-year-old state of emergency and abolishing the state security court, both of which were key demands of the demonstrators.

The emergency law permitted the government to make preventive arrests and override constitutional and penal code statutes.

CNN’s Rima Maktabi and Joe Sterling contributed to this report

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