A Lebanese town witnessed a shooting for 8 hours…and fear of a displacement plan!

Armed men, including Syrians, attacked the Lebanese village of Tufail, on the border with Syria in eastern Lebanon, and shot the residents for eight hours, while the villagers appealed to the Lebanese army to intervene.

And the “National News Agency” reported that gunmen opened fire at a number of houses inside the border town of Tufail, and the damage was limited to material.

Al-Tufail is a border village in the east of Baalbek inhabited by Lebanese and Syrians, and it was difficult to access until the past four years from Lebanese territory, when its residents were moving inside Syria, and receiving electricity, telecommunications, water and medical services from Syria, before it was controlled by extremist armed men, who were expelled Later, the Lebanese army sent reinforcements to it, where it established military posts, and a road to the village was opened from inside Lebanese territory.

Last year, the village was attacked by “militants affiliated with a real estate company”, according to the residents of Tufail, on the pretext that it had bought a portion of the town’s property, and they accused it of seeking to “control the orchards to establish industrial and agricultural projects,” which is rejected by the residents who say that the real estate company is planning to expel them from the town.

Field sources in eastern Lebanon told Asharq Al-Awsat that dozens of gunmen “set out from the Syrian village of Assal al-Ward at the western slope of the Syrian mountain Qalamoun, following midnight towards Lebanese territory, and opened fire on homes, properties and orchards, before leaving in the morning.” They said that the gunmen “fired with individual and medium weapons and rocket-propelled grenades, which terrified the people.”

The residents accuse these Syrian gunmen of being affiliated with a company that claims to buy land in the town, and that it wants to complete its control over it. The sources said that the gunmen “were recognizable, and some of them are Syrians from Assal al-Ward, and they are close to the company that claims ownership of agricultural lands in the town.”

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The official population of Tufail is regarding 2500 people. Hundreds of them live in the town permanently, while the others are divided between residing in Baalbek in eastern Lebanon, or in the Rankous plain in the Syrian Qalamoun, or Assal al-Ward. Residents say that the Syrian depth is closer to them than their town, as they go to Yabroud Hospital, which is 18 kilometers away from them, while Baalbek Hospital is 40 kilometers away. The Syrian schools in the neighboring villages receive all Al-Tufail students who want to continue their educational attainment.

The Banque du Liban owned the bulk of the town’s property, following acquiring it following the bankruptcy of a bank, along with another financier who sold his share to the real estate development company.

While the residents fear a plan to displace them from the town, the company says that all the lands are owned between the Banque du Liban and the company, and there are no public lands (commons) in the town.

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