The Syrian conflict spread in earnest to Lebanon Monday, March 18, when the Syria Air Force carried out bombing runs over Syrian rebel jumping-off bases inside Lebanon that are used for their attacks on government forces.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the warplanes also bombed Lebanese border valleys used for smuggling men and arms into Syria.
The targets, between one and five kilometers inside Lebanon, were the town of Arsal, where many of the Sunni Muslim inhabitants support the Syrian rebellion, and the outskirts of the towns of Khirbet Younin and Wadi al-Khayl in Arsal’s barren mountains. No casualties were reported.
DEBKAfile can disclose exclusively that Saturday, March 16, Syrian ruler Bashar Assad sent an ultimatum to Lebanese President Michel Sleiman through intelligence channels consisting of three stipulations:
1. Sack Lebanese army chief Gen. Jean Kahwaji without delay. Assad accused the general of refusing to deploy the Lebanese army for cracking down on Syrian rebel bases of operation in Lebanon and so stemming the flow of rebel strength into the embattled country.