Syrian warplanes struck targets on the outskirts of the Lebanese town of Ersal days after telling the Lebanese government it was exercising “the utmost degree of self-restraint” not to hit armed groups infiltrating into its territory.
Lebanon’s state National News Agency reported the attack, the second since September, without providing details. Last week, Syria’s Foreign Ministry sent a letter to its Lebanese counterpart complaining about an increase in the number of “armed terrorist groups” infiltrating into Syria from Lebanon.
“The crowds of those terrorist groups are still present inside the Lebanese lands, they are seen by the naked eye by our forces who are showing the utmost degrees of self-restraint” not to hit them, the communication said, according to Syria’s state-run SANA news agency.
Syria’s two-year civil war has spread into neighboring countries several times, most recently on March 4 when at least 48 Syrian troops were killed by insurgents inside Iraq. Turkey has attacked targets inside Syria after shells landed on its territory last year and pro- and anti-Assad groups have fought in Lebanon’s capital Beirut and the northern city of Tripoli.
The Syrians last week asked Lebanon to “exert efforts to control the borders with Syria” and prevent those groups from using the borders as a “corridor to target” Syria, SANA said.
Syria regularly reports infiltrations of armed groups from Lebanon seeking to help rebels fighting to overthrow the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The opposition has said the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group, Assad’s closest ally, is assisting Assad’s clampdown on the rebels.