Lebanese media points to army as culprit in mysterious Arsal explosion

An explosion rocked a Syrian refugee camp on the outskirts of the Lebanese town of Arsal near the Syrian border on Monday, reported pro-opposition Eldorar, as Lebanese media reported its army fired on the camp from the air to target “terrorists.”

The Lebanese Ministry of Information acknowledged the explosion, saying in a statement that “four individuals were killed and 10 others injured in an explosion in the Syrian refugee camps…on the outskirts of Arsal.” Tens of thousands of Syrian refugees live in scattered tent settlements in and around Arsal, 12km from the Syrian border.

Lebanese reports varied as to the details of the bombing.

A Lebanese drone targeted “several artillery pieces” in the refugee camp that they claimed “was under the control of armed fighters,” reported the Lebanese daily A-Safir, adding that 14 gunmen were killed and injured.

The Future satellite television channel,owned by the Hariri family, quoted a military source saying that a Lebanese Cessna had targeted a vehicle carrying weapons belonging to “extremist Syrian groups” such as Jabhat a-Nusra and the Islamic State.

But Jabhat a-Nusra has no presence anywhere near Arsal, Thaer al-Qalamouni, a citizen journalist on the ground who says he talked to eyewitnesses to the bombings, told Syria Direct on Tuesday.

A video posted on YouTube on Monday reportedly shows the aftermath of the attack on Arsal, accompanied by the caption “the Lebanese Army targeted a water tank, a barbershop, and a tire-repair shop.”

In the video, the skeleton of a blown-out structure remains with a hand-painted sign in Arabic reading “Men’s barber” on one side.

Citizen journalist al-Qalamouni confirmed a barbershop and auto-repair shop were bombed, claiming the source to be “guided missiles from a Lebanese reconnaissance plane.”

Photo courtesy of sasassssaa.

Ghalia Muhkalalati

Ghalia Muhkhalalati holds a degree in computer science, where she attained the third highest grade in Syria for her year. She worked as a private teacher for displaced persons when the revolution began and arrived in Jordan in 2013.

Samuel Kieke

Samuel Kieke was a 2014-2015 CASA I fellow in Amman, Jordan. He received his BA from the University of Texas at Austin in Arabic Language and Literature, Middle Eastern Studies, and International Relations and Global Studies.