Region | Syria

Syria opposition tells Lebanon to control Hezbollah

Rebels claim they were forced to fire across border after repeated aggressions by Hezbollah

  • AFP
  • Published: 14:06 April 16, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: AP
  • In this Friday, April 12, 2013 photo, Syrian soldiers stand guard at the Lebanese border village of al-Qasr, Lebanon. Masked men in camouflage toting Kalashnikov rifles fan out through a dusty olive orchard, part of a group of Hezbollah-backed fighters from Lebanon who are patrolling both sides of a porous border stretch with Syria. The gunmen say their mission to protect Shiites in both countries and counter what they see as a growing threat from Sunni rebels in Syria. Arabic on the walls read, “only God, Syria, and Bashar,” and “God is protecting Syria.” (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
Image 1 of 2
12

Beirut: Syria’s main opposition National Coalition called on Lebanon to control its frontiers, after rebels said they fired across the border in retaliation against the powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah.

“The Syrian Coalition calls on the Lebanese government to exert control over its borders and put an immediate stop to Hezbollah’s military operations on Syrian territory,” the group said late Monday.

“We call upon the Lebanese government to take action against Hezbollah’s aggressions and do everything within their means to ensure the safety of the innocent civilians on the Syrian-Lebanese border,” it said in a statement.

“For weeks now, forces belonging to Hezbollah have targeted villages inside Syria, located on the border of Syria and Lebanon. Hezbollah deployed forces into some border villages and took control of those areas.

“The [rebel] Free Syrian Army was forced to respond to these repeated aggressions,” it said.

The statement comes after Lebanon said it would submit to the Arab League a letter of protest condemning the spillover of fire from Syria onto its territory.

The coalition is recognised by dozens of states and organizations-among them the Arab League-as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

Beirut has adopted a policy of “disassociation” in the conflict in neighbouring Syria, and has been reluctant to publicly blame either rebel or regime forces.

The rebels claimed to have fired shells on Lebanon at the weekend, blaming Hezbollah for firing from Lebanon and positions inside Syria on rebel-held areas in the strife-torn Qusayr area, near the border.

A rebel commander told AFP on Monday they were “giving the Lebanese authorities an opportunity to respond, to take practical steps to put a stop to [Hezbollah’s] shelling”, while threatening to launch new attacks should the Shiite group continue to target rebels in Syria.

Lebanon is sharply divided over Syria’s two-year conflict, with Hezbollah and its allies supporting President Bashar Al Assad, and the Sunni-led March 14 movement backing the rebels.

Cross-border shellfire from the Syrian war has regularly hit Lebanon, on occasion killing Lebanese. On Sunday, however, two people died for the first time in Hezbollah strongholds of the border region.

Gulf News
A Syrian refugee at Boynuyogun Refugee Camp

Blog

Gulf News covers Syrian refugee crisis in Jordan

News Editor's choice