ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:
NPR's Kelly McEvers is in Lebanon and has made several trips to the border. She joins us now from Beirut. And, Kelly, what are you hearing about Talkalakh today?
KELLY MCEVERS: Now, this is not the first time that the town has been under siege, but it does sound to us like it's the worst attack so far. Hundreds if not thousands of people are trying to get into Lebanon from Talkalakh. As they crossed the border yesterday, a firefight actually broke out and that's when you saw even more casualties. Now, one of these was reportedly a Lebanese soldier.
SIEGEL: A firefight between whom? Who's firing at whom here?
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
MCEVERS: We don't know exactly which side is true. It's probably true that the truth is somewhere in the middle. But if that's so, it would be a disturbing development. It would mean that, you know, these people who oppose the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad are starting to look more like an armed resistance than a peaceful protest movement.
SIEGEL: And is what you're hearing from the people in Talkalakh, whom you're talking to, is it typical of what's going on throughout Syria? Does it go against the grain or contrary to what the Syrians are saying they're doing?
MCEVERS: The one place you are not seeing protest yet is Syria's second largest city, Aleppo. It's a mixed city that has prospered in recent years during Syria's economic opening. For now, it seems like the middle class of Aleppo is waiting to see which side will gain momentum. Are the protesters going to get their way and force the regime to fall, or is the regime going to hang onto power? What most analysts tell us is that, you know, the way Aleppo goes, so goes Syria.
SIEGEL: Let me ask you about one other thing. Over the weekend, there was a big Palestinian protest from the Syrian side of the border into the Golan Heights, which Israel controls. How does that fit into this whole picture, do you think, of protests throughout Syria?
MCEVERS: The U.S. government today accused the Syrian government of doing so, as a way to turn attention away from its crackdown on its protest movement, and try to stir up trouble with Israel as a way to, you know, divert the attention of the international community that's been pretty critical of the Syrian regime so far.
SIEGEL: Kelly McEvers in Beirut, thank you.
MCEVERS: You're welcome.
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