Escalation raises tensions in neighbouring Lebanon

Fri, Jul 20, 2012, 01:00

REGIONAL FRICTION:EVENTS IN Syria have deepened existing anxieties in neighbouring Lebanon – where tens of thousands of refugees have sought shelter – that the conflict next door could spill over the border.

Rival Lebanese factions are divided over support for the Assad regime. In a televised speech on Wednesday night after the Damascus bombing, Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah reiterated support for the regime and praised the three who died.

He described Mr Assad’s brother-in-law, his defence minister and a former defence minister as “comrades-in-arms” against Israel,

He also sought to paint the Syrian crisis as a US and Israeli conspiracy to dislodge the regime which, he said, had supplied Hizbullah with crucial weaponry during its 2006 war with Israel.

“We are confident that the Syrian army, which has had to cope with the intolerable, has the ability, determination and resolve to endure and foil the enemies’ hopes,” Mr Nasrallah said, before urging dialogue between the regime and opposition forces.

The UN Security Council has expressed concern about cross-border attacks on Lebanon from Syria. “The commitment of the country’s leaders to safeguarding Lebanon from the impact of regional tensions at this difficult time is particularly important,” it said.