(MENAFN - Arab News) Ras al-harf: lebanese authorities on tuesday sent a rare aid convoy to the town of tufeil an island of lebanese territory inside syria where thousands have become trapped in the country's war.
tufeil is located on the northeastern tip of lebanon which stretches into syria.
though the town is lebanese it is impossible to reach it without passing through syrian territory.
the town was once home to some 5000 people most of them sunni muslims but many have fled to safety inside lebanon as the conflict in syria has escalated.
ever since lebanon gained independence from france in 1943 residents of tufeil have voted in lebanon but have gone to school worked received medical treatment and bought their goods from syria.
but as the syrian army backed by lebanon's shiite hezbollah movement scored a string of victories this year in the surrounding qalamun area tufeil's sunni residents found themselves trapped.
for weeks the town's population has been unable to leave or receive any kind of assistance with syrian armed forces blocking the routes into syria.
inside lebanon the villages neighboring tufeil are largely shiite where support for hezbollah and the syrian regime is strong and residents accuse tufeil of supporting syria's sunni-led opposition.
with concern rising about the plight of the town lebanon's interior minister nuhad mashnuq said monday that authorities would provide assistance to tufeil's residents as well as to syrians who have taken refuge there.
mashnuq also said he had been in touch with hezbollah in a bid to secure safe passage for the aid convoy through the shiite village of britel which neighbors tufeil in lebanon.