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Monday, September 19, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Syrian soldiers cross border, open fire
on Lebanese troops

NICOSIA — For the first time during the revolt against President Bashar Assad, Syrian troops have fired on the Lebanese Army.


Lebanese security sources said a squadron of Syrian Army soldiers infiltrated Lebanon and opened fire on a Lebanese Army patrol. They said the attack took place on Sept. 15 near the Lebanese-Syrian border outside the Lebanese town of Mewanseh.

"A patrol belonging to the Syrian Arab Forces crossed around 200 meters into the Lebanese territory at the Mewanseh point in the northern province, and fired a number of machine gun salvos while pursuing fugitives across the border," the Lebanese Army said.

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The Lebanese statement marked the first official report of Syrian Army infiltration and shooting in Lebanon, Middle East Newsline reported. Diplomats said the security forces loyal to Assad have been regularly operating in northern Lebanon.

The Army stressed that the Syrian shooting did not target Lebanese forces. The statement said a Lebanese combat vehicle was damaged.

"The issue is being followed up in coordination between the Lebanese and Syrian armies," the statement said.

Diplomats said Assad forces were seeking to capture defectors from the Syrian Army and police. They said Damascus was also trying to stop the flow of weapons from Lebanon to the Syrian opposition.

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