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HRW calls on Syrian fighters to end arbitrary cross-border attacks

April 22, 2013 at 4:09 PM

DAMASCUS, Syria, April 22 (UPI) -- Human Rights Watch says Syrian rebel forces have been indiscriminately shelling villages in Lebanon, violating the laws of war.

In a release Monday, HRW called on both sides of the conflict in Syria -- those loyal to President Bashar Assad and those against him -- immediately to stop cross-border attacks on inhabited areas in Lebanon.

HRW's plea came after reports of rebels firing on the Shiite villages al-Qasr and Hawsh al-Sayyed in Lebanon's northern Bekaa region April 14, killing two people and wounding three. Shiite villages were shelled in Bekaa Saturday as well, but there were no reports of casualties from those attacks.

"Even if fighters are present in Lebanon, there is no excuse for any warring party to conduct indiscriminate strikes on residential areas," said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "All sides need to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians."

"As parties in Lebanon get further involved in the conflict in Syria, civilians increasingly pay the price of indiscriminate attacks from across the border," Houry said. "Security in border areas will almost certainly deteriorate unless the government takes measures to secure such areas."

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