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Lebanese army vows to fend off Syrian conflict spillover

English.news.cn   2014-08-03 06:18:29

BEIRUT, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- Lebanon's army vowed on Saturday to respond in a "decisive and firm" manner to prevent the Syrian conflict spilling into Lebanon after two soldiers and another two civilians were killed in clashes with armed attackers who infiltrated from neighboring Syria to the border town of Arsal.

"The army will not allow any party to transfer the battle from Syria to its territory (Lebanon)," Lebanese army said in a statement, adding that it "will not remain silent as foreigners try to turn our land into a field for crime and terrorism, murder and kidnapping."

The statement also warned of the growing seriousness of clashes ramping up in the Arsal region in eastern Lebanon, where gunmen shot dead two soldiers as a revenge for a previous arrest of a man accused of being affiliated to al-Qaida's Syrian off-shoot, the Al- Nusra Front.

The state-run National News Agency (NNA) reported later that the two wounded Lebanese citizens died due to their injuries they sustained in the clashes.

According to the NNA report, Imad Ahmed Jomaa was arrested by Lebanon while he was being transferred to a hospital after he sustained injuries during battles with the Syrian army on the outskirts of Arsal.

Investigations showed that Jomaa belongs to the al-Nusra Front and was handed over to the competent judiciary authority for further questioning, the army said.

The army statement also confirmed reports that gunmen had briefly captured two soldiers who its forces were able to later free.

Syria's army has also launched regular air raids and bombed the area around Arsal, claiming it was targeting rebels' hideouts in the mountainous region surrounding the border town.

The town of Arsal has been used as a conduit for weapons and rebels to enter Syria, while also serving as a refuge for people fleeing the conflict.

Since earlier this year, tensions have been running high in the Lebanon-Syria border region as refugees and fighters swarmed in Lebanon from Syria after the Syrian forces, backed by Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah movement, recaptured most of the Qalamun region, just across the border from Arsal.

It has been quite regular that violence from Syria's conflict would spill over into neighboring Lebanon, which right now hosts over one million Syrian refugees.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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