Lebanon Sends Troops to Syrian Border

July 10, 2012  

Lebanon on Tuesday began sending troops to the frontier with violence-torn Syria after deadly attacks in the region.

“Yes, we have started to reinforce our troops, and the operation will take us a week to 10 days to complete,” an army spokesman told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The cabinet decided on Monday evening to dispatch army reinforcements to the border area in the north, after a series of cross-border incidents in recent months.

Syrian troops and armed men traded gunfire overnight in the border area and shells fell inside Lebanon, wounding civilians, the army said earlier.

The latest incident took place two days after clashes and blasts killed two people in the area.

The decision to send troops to the Syrian border makes Lebanon the second country in the region reinforce its frontier as embattled President Bashar al-Assad continues his brutal 16-month suppression of a popular uprising now turned civil war.

Ankara reinforced its border with Syria after Damascus shot down a Turkish F-4 Phantom fighter jet over the Mediterranean.

France on Tuesday condemned Syrian shelling of areas of northern Lebanon and said it backed Lebanese plans to boost its military presence along the border.

“We support the decision of the Lebanese cabinet to strengthen the presence of the Lebanese armed forces at the border, to guarantee the security of Lebanon’s territory and its people,” French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said.

“France calls on Syria to strictly respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Lebanon, in conformity with United Nations resolutions,” he added.

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