The violence from the Syrian conflict continues to spillover into neighboring countries, as Syria hit targets inside Lebanon. US spokesperson Victoria Nuland confirmed the press reports that Syrian helicopters and jets fired rockets into Lebanese territory near a border town with Syria.
“This constitutes a significant escalation in the violations of Lebanese sovereignty that the Syrian regime has been guilty of,” a State Department press release quoted Nuland as saying. “These kinds of violations of sovereignty are absolutely unacceptable.”
The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad—currently battling a two-year-old uprising against him that has turned into a vicious civil war—has long threatened Lebanese sovereignty. His regime pulled its troops out of Lebanon in 2005, but to this day is a key patron of the Hezbollah terror group in Lebanon, with which Syria continues to wield influence over its neighbor.
In turn, Hezbollah fighters have been accused of backing the Assad government in the fight against rebels in Syria.
Prior to the airstrike incident, Lebanese opposition leader and former premier Saad Hariri warned against Syrian meddling in Lebanon. The Daily Star Lebanese newspaper quoted a statement from Hariri as saying that “there is a regional side, precisely the regime of Bashar Assad, that does not want Lebanon to rest, but finds in igniting discord among the Lebanese, specifically between Sunnis and Shiites, a weapon in the face of the Arabs and the world that would save this regime from falling,”
“Yes, Bashar Assad wants to save his regime using the blood of the Lebanese and he will not hesitate to use the filthiest means to do so,”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, March 19, 2013)