BEIRUT/BAALBEK: Members of the Free Syrian Army attacked a Lebanese Army post Friday night near the northern border with Syria, the Army said in a statement Saturday.
No causalities were reported.
"For the second time in under a week, a unit from the Free Syrian Army [consisting of] a large number of gunmen entered Lebanese territory overnight via the outskirts of Arsal, where it attacked one of the Lebanese Army's posts," the statement said.
Following the incident, Army reinforcements were dispatched to the area, while soldiers began pursuing the assailants who escaped toward the mountains as well as some border towns, according to the statement.
"The Army’s leadership affirms that it will not allow any party to use Lebanese territory to implicate Lebanon in ongoing events in neighboring countries," the Army said.
Residents in Arsal, located 10 kilometers from the border with Syria, told The Daily Star that earlier Friday the Army caught an unspecified number of members of the Syrian rebel group, but released them hours later due to pressure by the town's notables
Tensions have been running high on the 550-kilometer-long Syria-Lebanon border since the uprising began against President Bashar Assad’s government in mid-March of last year.
Syria has repeatedly claimed that rebel groups are operating in Lebanon’s border towns, and have asked authorities to crack down and prevent the smuggling of arms and gunmen.
Earlier this year, Lebanon’s Cabinet asked the Army to deploy heavily along the border and take all necessary measures to prevent smuggling. The government’s decision in July came after Syrian shelling killed two Lebanese in the northern Wadi Khaled border region and in light of repeated Syrian incursions into Lebanese territories.
In its statement Saturday, the Army reiterated its determination to protect Lebanese territory, adding that it would respond with force to any violation regardless of the party behind it. -With additional reporting by Rakan al-Faqih