Lebanon masses troops along Syria border

Lebanon masses troops along Syria border

PanARMENIAN.Net - The Lebanese army late Thursday, February 9 reinforced its presence in the northern region of Wadi Khaled, which borders Syria and is close to the flashpoint province of Homs, officials and local residents said, according to AFP.

“An army unit was seen deploying at a base in Wadi Khaled and then it began patrols inside villages and towns in the region,” a local official in Muqaybleh said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Another official in Kneysseh, located in the same region, said troops were seen deploying in three villages along the border - Kneysseh, Hnayder and Qarha.

Several local residents said the army was also searching cars and checking identification at the main checkpoint located at the entrance of Wadi Khaled, an impoverished region at the northern tip of Lebanon.

A Lebanese army spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment.

Syrian troops in recent months have mined the border with Wadi Khaled to prevent smuggling through illegal crossings and Lebanon becoming a safe haven for the opposition.

A Syrian man was seriously wounded on Thursday after stepping on a mine as he tried to cross into Lebanon, officials said. The 26-year-old had one leg blown off, and was being treated at a hospital in the northern Lebanese region of Akkar.

Some 6,400 Syrians have sought refuge in Lebanon, most of them in Wadi Khaled, since the outbreak nearly a year ago of an unprecedented revolt against the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

A brutal government crackdown to put down the uprising has left more than 6,000 people dead, according to rights groups. The central city of Homs has become a flashpoint of the revolt with at least 400 people killed in a relentless six-day onslaught by regime forces.

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