Four more killed as gunfire crosses border between Syria and Lebanon

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Heavy clashes across Syria killed at least four people yesterday and wounded dozens more – including an 11-year-old girl who was struck by stray bullets that flew across the border into Lebanon.

The most serious violence appeared to be in the town of Talkalakh, where witnesses reported more than six hours of explosions and gunfire.

The town is within walking distance from Lebanon and at least two people were struck by bullets on the Lebanese side.

The girl and a 40-year-old man were taken to hospital after being struck by bullets fired from the Syrian town, Lebanese security officials said.

Deadly violence also was reported in Homs and Idlib provinces. At least four people were killed, activists said.

Syria is trying to crush an eight-month-old revolt challenging President Bashar Assad’s autocratic rule.

However, the mounting death toll has led to broad condemnation. Concerns have been growing that violence could lead to a wider regional conflagration.

The UN’s top human rights official said this week that Syria is in a state of civil war and more than 4,000 people have been killed since mid-March.

The violence has led to several rounds of sanctions, a key tool used by the international community to exert pressure on the regime. The measures include travel bans and asset freezes.

The EU’s latest sanctions target 12 people and 11 companies, adding to a long list of regime figures previously sanctioned by the EU, including Assad, his senior associates and high-ranking security officials.

The identities of those on the new list were made public yesterday. They include the ministers of finance and the economy, as well as army officers.

Three oil companies, including Syria Trading Oil Company, which is responsible for exports, also were listed.

The sanctions are punishing Syria’s ailing economy – a dangerous development for Damascus because prosperous middle classes are key to propping up the regime.