Clashes reported near Lebanon-Syria border

Aug. 21, 2012 at 12:14 PM

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati called on all parties to conflict northern Lebanon to avoid drawing the country into regional conflicts.

The Daily Star newspaper in Lebanon reports at least 10 soldiers were hurt in fighting between pro- and anti-Syrian militias in Tripoli, the hometown of the Lebanese prime minister.

Mikati said he was concerned that his country would be drawn into the civil war in neighboring Syria.

"We call upon residents of Tripoli not to allow anyone to drag them into battles that only produce murder, devastation and destruction or to be used as ammunition for the battles of others," he was quoted as saying.

The prime minister called on national forces to deploy to Tripoli in an effort to control the violence. The newspaper reports that at least one battalion was forced to pull out of a neighborhood there after coming under heavy machine gun and rocket-propelled grenade attacks.

Syrian forces in the late 1970s and early 1980s played a role in the 25-year civil war in Lebanon that ended in 1990. The Cedar Revolution in Lebanon in 2005 ended with the withdrawal of Syrian forces from the country after 30 years.

Arab governments last week called on their citizens to leave Lebanon following a series of kidnappings and clashes in the country.

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