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Syrian troops ‘plant mines by Lebanon border’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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TRIPOLI, Lebanon , (AFP)— Syrian troops were seen planting mines along a region bordering northern Lebanon early on Thursday in a bid to stem weapons smuggling, a local Lebanese official told AFP.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said the troops began planting the mines at dawn in an area facing two Lebanese villages — Knaysseh and Al-Hnayder.

“Lebanese officials told us the Syrians undertook the measure to prevent weapons smuggling,” he said.

“A number of Syrian soldiers were also seen deploying on their side of the border, near the Syrian villages of Heet and Buwayt,” he added.

The area is separated only by mounds of earth and for long has been used to smuggle goods between the two countries. Lebanese and Syrian nationals previously also circulated freely between the two countries.

But tension in the region has mounted since the revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime erupted in March and some 5,000 Syrians, among them defecting soldiers and opposition activists, have sought refuge in Lebanon.

Experts say weapons smuggling from Lebanon to Syria has thrived since the revolt began but not on a large scale. They also point out that, the smuggling appears to be the work of individuals rather than political parties opposed to the Assad regime.