After a twelve hour toilsome journey, Hilal and his elderly mother arrived in Shebaa after fleeing the shelling in their Syrian town of Beit Jinn close to Golan leaving behind their identification papers carrying only some food and water.
“The road was cold and full of snow. It was mountainous and full of snow, and it was cold. But we had [to leave] because we were afraid [for our lives] due to the shelling,” Hilal said.
He added that Syrian forces even shelled the mountains that people walked through to escape Syria.
Shebaa is a Lebanese southern town along the border with Israel. For Syrians to arrive in it, they have to walk meters away from a UNIFIL site and another position for Israeli troops.
Al-Masnaa crossing border in Lebanon’s Beqaa is the only legal one and the closest to Syria.
Ibrahim, another Syrian who fled to Shebaa, said the rebels helped people flee.
“The Free Syrian Army helped us [escape] It opened the road for us to arrive here under the Israeli observatories.”
The Lebanese Red Cross is receiving the refugees arriving in Shebaa. It aids whoever was injured by the Syrian regime’s shelling as well as others who suffered because of the tiresome journey.
Meanwhile, the Lebanese army makes sure that no armed people enter the country.
Mohammad Saab, head of the Shebaa municipality, said his town was not like Aarsal.
“Arms are not smuggled here. We are not like Aarsal. We do not send weapons, and we do not let weapons in,” Saab said.
He added that there are army stations in Shebaa and that all refugees who arrive register their names.
The number of Syrians in town has increased to the point where there are no more houses vacant in town. Many of them live in schools and mosques.
Shebaa residents said that the biggest problem will be when many people return to town from cities or from other countries to spend summer in their houses there.