Desperate Syrians Trek Over 9,000-foot Mountain to Safety

Saleh Zawaraa, 28, center, arrives on horseback into the town of Chebaa in southeast Lebanon after crossing Mount Hermon from Syria on April 20, 2014. Zawaraa was severely injured by a tank shell as he tried to bring bread into the village of Beit Jinn, which has been under siege by Syrian troops for months. No food or medicine has been allowed to reach thousands of civilians trapped there. Hussein Malla / AP

MOUNT HERMON, Lebanon — As the late-day sun slipped behind the mountains in front of them, a ragtag group of around a dozen Syrians desperate to flee their country's bloody civil war set off on their treacherous nighttime trek across the rugged frontier into neighboring Lebanon.

Ahead of them: at least a nine-hour climb in darkness up — and down — the 9,232-foot Mount Hermon. Once in Lebanon, they will join the more than 2.5 million other Syrians across the region who have escaped the civil war in their homeland to begin the life of a refugee.

Samira Asrawi 45, right, and her daughter Marwa, 19, sit on the ground weeping next to their belongings as they wait to be vetted by Lebanese soldiers at an army checkpoint after reaching the town of Chebaa in southeast Lebanon on April 20, 2014. Hussein Malla / AP

On a recent night, those making the journey included a young couple with a newborn baby; a sick, elderly woman accompanied by her daughter and son; and a young man, both legs wrapped in bandages from heel to hip, who was secured with a rope face down to a horse for the hike.

— The Associated Press