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Last Updated: Friday, 14 July 2006, 14:04 GMT 15:04 UK
Lebanese struggle to flee bombing
By Martin Patience
BBC News, Duboseya border crossing, Lebanon

The queue of people waiting to leave Lebanon for Syria is at least 20 times longer than the line heading in the opposite direction.

Lebanese family
Families desperate to escape are trying to reach the Syrian border

Israel is putting the squeeze on Lebanon in an attempt to free two Israeli soldiers captured by Hezbollah on Wednesday.

Two separate Israeli air strikes destroyed the runway of Beirut airport and made Beirut-to-Damascus highways difficult to pass. Israeli warships have blocked Lebanese ports.

Leaving the country is now a priority for some Lebanese citizens but doing so is not easy.

Duboseya border control in northern Lebanon is packed.

'No turning back'

Even with the hundred cars ahead of us, Ahmed Waked, 21, insists he is not turning back.

"There's a war happening," he says, with his two elderly parents sitting beside him in the truck's cabin.

"Our relatives in Syria told us to come and join them. I intend to stay a month and will only return when the situation improves."

burning plane
Israel has attacked airports and highways, and closed sea ports
Clambering on the back of the uncovered truck are 10 children dressed in bright red and orange traditional Arab dress or T-shirts. Some sit on bags of clothes. A small green bicycle is visible through their tangled limbs.

Cars, trucks and buses choke the two-lane road, inching forward every few minutes. Those on foot squeeze past the vehicles or walk on the verge of the road kicking up plumes of dust.

In the passport control office, immigration staff are overwhelmed. Those wishing to leave the country press their noses up against the glass partitions shouting requests.

Some Lebanese have mixed opinions on who is to blame for Israel's bombing of Lebanon.

Abdulla Wehabi, 28, a farmer, said the leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, was responsible. "He's destroying the country," he says.

But most others disagree.

With a black bag slung over his shoulder, a young man running to the border is asked who he blames. He has a single word answer: "Israel".

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