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Friday, September 26, 2008

Syria has quietly deployed 10,000 troops along Lebanon border

NICOSIA — Syria has moved thousands of troops to its border with Lebanon.

Syrian troops have deployed on the northern side of the Syrian-Lebanese border. AFP
Lebanese military sources said around 10,000 Syrian troops were stationed along the border with Lebanon. The sources said the troops were backed by main battle tanks, armored personnel carriers and other vehicles, Middle East Newsline reported.

At the same time, sources said Al Qaida and other Islamic insurgents were streaming from Syria to northern Lebanon. They said the insurgents were located around the Lebanese city of Tripoli and the Palestinian refugee camp of Naher Bard.

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"The Syrians have assured us that this is not a military but an anti-smuggling operation," a military source said.

The Lebanese Army has acknowledged the Syrian buildup. The army said about 10,000 Syrian commandos and other special forces were sent to the Abudiya region along the border with Lebanon.

The Syrian opposition said Damascus sent hundreds of troops into Lebanon during the summer of 2008. The Washington-based Reform Party of Syria said Syrian commandos were supporting Alawite separatists in their war with Sunnis in northern Lebanon.

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