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Syrian Rebels Fight in Lebanon, Car Bomb Hits Damascus

Lebanese soldiers inspect a site which was hit by a rocket, which residents say was fired from Syria overnight, in the town of Seriine in the Bekaa valley, Lebanon, Jun. 1, 2013.
Syrian rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad appear to have fought a rare battle inside Lebanon, exchanging fire with members of pro-Assad Lebanese group Hezbollah.

Lebanese security sources said the fighting happened early Sunday near the eastern Lebanese town of Baalbek and killed several people on both sides.

Predominantly Sunni Syrian rebels have threatened to attack Shi'ite group Hezbollah in Lebanon in retaliation for Hezbollah sending fighters into Syria to bolster Assad, whose Alawite sect is an offshoot of Shia Islam.

Several rockets fired from Syria have struck Lebanese strongholds of Hezbollah such as the Bekaa Valley and southern Beirut in recent days.

The incidents reflect a growing spillover of the Syrian civil war into neighboring states. Minor war-related incidents also have happened along Syria's borders with Turkey and Jordan and its cease-fire line with Israel.

In another development, a Syrian rights group said a car bomb exploded near a police station in a suburb of the capital Damascus on Sunday, killing at least nine officers.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attack in the Jouber district appeared to be the work of al-Qaida affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra.

Syrian state news agency SANA also reported the car bombing, but characterized it as an attack on a "residential neighborhood" with 10 people wounded. It also said security forces fought with a group of "terrorists" after the blast and killed several of them.

"Terrorists" is the term the Syrian government uses for rebels fighting a two-year struggle to oust President Assad.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Sunday that a Syria peace conference backed by the United States and Russia could take place next month, after the two powers initially called for holding it in June.

The Syrian government has said it is willing to attend such a conference in principle. But, the main opposition coalition has rejected the idea, saying talks are meaningless while Syrian troops backed by Hezbollah and Iranian personnel commit alleged atrocities against the Syrian people.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.