‘Syria planting landmines along Lebanon border’

Last Updated: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - 19:21

Serhaniyeh: Syria is planting
landmines along parts of the country`s border with Lebanon as
refugees stream out of the country to escape the crackdown on
anti-government protests, officials and witnesses said on Tuesday.

The exodus to neighbouring Lebanon and Turkey has proven a
deep embarrassment for increasingly besieged President
Bashar Assad, who warned over the weekend that the Middle East
will burn if foreign powers try to intervene in his country`s
conflict.

A Syrian official familiar with government strategy
claimed the mines are meant to prevent arms smuggling into
Syria. The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition
that his name will not be published because of the sensitivity of
the matter.

Witnesses on the Lebanese side of the border also told
the AP they have seen Syrian soldiers planting the mines in
recent days in their territory.

"Syria has undertaken many measures to control the
borders, including planting mines," said the Syrian official.

Three residents of the Lebanese border village of
Serhaniyeh showed an AP reporter a long sand dune barrier
along the frontier where they said Syrian troops laid mines.

Ahmed Diab, 26, said several trucks carrying about a 100
soldiers arrived in the area on Thursday and spent the entire
day planting mines on the side of the barriers that is toward
Lebanon.

"Since they planted the mines, no one dares to go to the
border line," said Diab, as he sat on his motorcycle near his
home that overlooks parts of the Syrian province of Homs. Homs
has seen some of the worst violence of the uprising.

Many Syrians cross the border into Lebanon regularly,
some of them to flee the violence in their country. And the
mines are the latest in a number of signs that Syria is
working to prevent Lebanon from becoming a safe haven for the
Syrian opposition.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - 19:21

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