Revenge seen along Lebanese-Syrian border

May 2, 2013 at 11:39 AM
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BEIRUT, Lebanon, May 2 (UPI) -- The Lebanese government hasn't done enough to prevent retaliatory attacks along the border with Syria, Human Rights Watch said Thursday.

Concerns about Lebanese security have escalated as Syrian civil war drags into its third year.

Human Rights Watch said it was concerned that Lebanese forces weren't doing enough to prevent sectarian kidnappings in border regions. Fighting has erupted sporadically in northern Lebanon between pro- and anti-Syrian elements.

Deputy Director of Middle East Programs at Human Rights Watch Nadim Houry said the government needs to step in to prevent an increase in vigilante justice.

"The government should keep working to secure the victims' release but must also send a clear signal that these abductions are crimes that will be investigated and prosecuted," he said in a statement.

Houry warned last month that cross-border attacks raised the possibility that Syrian fighting may spread across the border into Lebanon. Some victims of kidnapping who were released told the rights group they were abducted by the Free Syrian Army.

"As the conflict in Syria increasingly seeps across the border, the Lebanese government hasn't done enough to maintain rule of law and security in the border regions," he said.

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said this week that his forces in Lebanon were fighting Syria rebels in a show of solidarity with Syrian President Bashar Assad.

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