Thousands of Syrian refugees rush into Lebanese border town fleeing battle

The United Nations agency for refugees is reporting that around 1,000 families have fled from a high-stakes battle in central Syria to the Lebanese border town of Arsal, walking more than 30 kilometers (20 miles) over ridges and valleys to safety.

Dana Sleiman of the UNHCR said Sunday that the families have been driven from border towns in the mountainous Qalamoun region, where Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar Assad are clashing with rebels in a drive to cut supply lines to opposition-held areas near Damascus.

She says they've been fleeing since the battle began Friday. Activists say the fighting has been intensifying.

Syrian refugees have overwhelmed Lebanon since their uprising began three years ago. Lebanese officials estimate there are 1.4 million Syrians in the country, including 800,000 registered refugees.