Lebanon News

Lebanese Army beefs up presence

Lebanese soldiers atop armored vehicle patrol the eastern village of Masharih al-Qaa, Lebanon, Tuesday, March 27, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

MASHARIH AL-QAA, Lebanon: The Lebanese Army beefed up its presence on the Syrian border Monday a day after shots were fired at their headquarters in Masharih al-Qaa.

Tanks patrolled the border and the Army boosted its number of troops at the Jusiyeh-Qaa border crossing.

The Army said Sunday that shots were fired at its Masharih al-Qaa headquarters “from the Syrian side of the border,” adding that it responded in kind to the source of the fire.

Early Monday, the Armed Forces arrested Bashar Hasan Ammoun, who allegedly took part in the clashes. Ammoun is said to be part of an armed group that smuggles weapons to Syrian rebel fighters.

The 18-year-old, who was shot in the leg during Monday’s skirmish, was taken to Hermel General Hospital.

The Jusiyeh-Qaa crossing was closed around four months ago after it was deemed unsafe due to the high rebel and Syrian army presence in the area.

Since the uprising began against Syria President Bashar Assad some 20 months ago, the border area has frequently seen fighting between the Syrian army and opposition groups, with shelling from the Syrian side damaging houses and killing residents.

Many refugees from Syria flee through the area, and locals have also headed further inside Lebanon to escape the violence.

The Future Movement has called for UNIFIL to expand its deployment from south Lebanon to the northern border as a measure to prevent cross-border attacks.

In September, Prime Minister Najib Mikati instructed Lebanon’s ambassador to Damascus to lodge a protest with the Syrian government over the shelling of Lebanese border towns.

Syria has claimed that it is the victim of violence and crime emanating from Lebanon, and has repeatedly asked the government to better control the border, citing arms smuggling and gunmen entering its territory via Lebanon.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 04, 2012, on page 4.




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