Syria warns against rebels sneaking from Lebanon

Updated: 2013-03-15 09:52


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DAMASCUS - Syrian foreign ministry stressed Thursday that the Syrian army is practicing the "highest levels of self- restraint" not to hit the rebels' positions on the Lebanese side of the borders with Syria.

"Over the past 36 hours, the armed terrorists in large numbers have sneaked into Syria at the border villages of Mathoume, Ain al- Sharaa, al-Jousieh and Talkalakh," the ministry said in a statement addressing the Lebanese foreign ministry.

The Syrian troops have clashed with the infiltrators and the clashes are still ongoing, the ministry said, adding that many of the assailants have been killed while some others have fled back to Lebanon.

The ministry noted that the armed groups' positions on the Lebanese side are seeable by the Syrian troops, which "has been practicing the highest levels of self-restraint."

Syria hopes "the Lebanese competent authorities will exert efforts to control its borders with Syria," according to the statement.

"Syria expects that the Lebanese side will prevent those (rebels) from using the borders as routes, because they are targeting the security of the Syrian people and infringing upon the sovereignty of Syria," the ministry said.

The ministry pointed out that the flow of gunmen and arms have notably stepped up since March 12, charging that those infiltrators are receiving support from Lebanon.

The Syrian government has for long complained about the flow of arms and cash from surrounding countries, including Lebanon, whose northern city Tripoli is packed with Islamists who oppose the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Moreover, some leaked phone recordings made public recently by Lebanese TVs have incriminated some Lebanese officials that appeared coordinating the flow of weapons and money to the rebels in Syria.