BEIRUT: Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour denied in remarks published Thursday that a recent clash in the Syrian border village of Quseir that reportedly left three members of Hezbollah killed amounted to interference in the Syria crisis and said the Lebanese victims died defending themselves.
“What happened was that Lebanese citizens living there acted in self-defense,” Mansour told Russia Today television network, pointing to the presence of about 20 border villages inside Syria with mainly Lebanese populations.
“They were attacked by armed elements and clashes ensued,” he said, according to the RT website.
“This does not indicate that there is [Lebanese] intervention in Syrian affairs or that [Lebanese] are taking part in military operations,” Mansour said.
He said that the Border Demarcation of 1920 “placed some Lebanese villages inside Syrian territory.”
“These villages, which number around 20 and include Quseir and other Lebanese villages, are Lebanese and are inhabited by Lebanese citizens,” he said.
Last week, a Lebanese security source said three members of Hezbollah and 12 Syrian rebels were killed during battles in Quseir.
In 2012, Hezbollah said there were some 22 villages inside Syria that are populated mainly by Lebanese Shiites who have been involved in fighting with rebels. The party says the inhabitants of these villages acted only in self defense and not under any instructions from the resistance group.
Lebanon has adopted a policy of disassociation with regard to the uprising in Syria.