Refugees fleeing besieged Qusayr say Syrian rebels dug…

Refugees fleeing besieged Qusayr say Syrian rebels dug in, preparing for government onslaught

AARSAL, Lebanon — The Syrian city of Qusayr lies just 10 miles over the border from Aarsal in northern Lebanon. But the Syrians now crowding into Aarsal said the trip to get here from Qusayr required walking for days.

Those who fled said that as many as 40,000 people remain in Qusayr, a city that has been a stronghold of the rebels fighting the Syrian government for more than a year. But government troops, bolstered by recently trained militias, now surround the city, in apparent preparation for storming it. The checkpoints they’ve set up on the roads around it make fleeing the besieged city dangerous – and complicated.

“To leave Qusayr is to risk death,” said one man who had made the journey along a circuitous route intended to avoid Syrian army checkpoints. The man, who refused to give his name because he feared reprisals from the Syrian government, said the trip took 10 days, most of it on foot.

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