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GCC flags travel to Lebanon, report claims

Syria regime’s victory in Qusayr followed by rocket attacks on border city of Ba’albek

Gulf News

Riyadh: Gulf states have advised citizens not to travel to Lebanon, a popular summer tourist destination that is becoming increasingly engulfed in neighbouring Syria’s civil war, official Saudi news agency SPA reported.

“Most GCC states have urged their nationals to avoid travelling to Lebanon due to the instability of the security situation there,” Gulf Cooperation Council chief Abdul Latif Al Zayani was quoted as saying late on Wednesday.

Lebanon is “unsafe” for citizens of the GCC, Al Zayani said.

On Wednesday, at least five rockets launched from across Lebanon’s border with Syria hit the eastern city of Ba’albek, a security source told AFP. The attack came hours after the Hezbollah resistance group and Syrian troops captured Qusayr, only 10 kilometres from the border with Lebanon, after deadly battles with Syrian rebels.

Lebanon has officially maintained a policy of neutrality in Syria’s conflict, but sectarian divisions have flared amid the conflict in Syria.

While Hezbollah and its allies back Syrian President Bashar Al Assad’s regime, the Sunni-led March 14 opposition movement supports the revolt against Al Assad.

In the northern city of Tripoli, a new wave of Syria-linked clashes between Sunni and Alawite residents left eight people dead since the weekend, bringing to dozens the death toll over recent months.

The violence prompted key GCC member Saudi Arabia on Thursday to urge Lebanon’s people to act “wisely” and bring an end to clashes in Tripoli.