US warns Syria against invading Lebanon

Tuesday, October 07, 2008 |  Israel Today Staff

Washington on Monday voiced concerns over an ongoing Syrian troop build-up along the Lebanese border, and warned Damascus against invading its neighbor.

Speaking to reporters in Washington, US State Department spokesman Robert Wood said that "recent terrorist attacks that took place in Tripoli (Lebanon) and Damascus should not serve as a pretext for...further Syrian military engagement or...to interfere in Lebanese internal affairs."

Syria began moving troops to its northwestern border last month in what it claimed was an effort to combat arms smuggling.

But Lebanese officials pointed out that 10,000 army soldiers are not needed to effectively prevent smuggling, a job usually done by customs agents.

Syria occupied the bulk of Lebanon from 1976 until 2005, when the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri assumedly by Syrian-backed operatives resulted in enormous international pressure for a Syrian withdrawal.

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