Lebanon trying to stay out of regional fight

May 6, 2013 at 2:26 PM
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BEIRUT, Lebanon, May 6 (UPI) -- Using Lebanese airspace to strike Syria is an act of aggression though the Lebanese government is trying to stay out of the fight, political leaders said.

Israel conducted airstrikes on suspected military targets in Syria last weekend. Lebanese President Michel Suleiman said he considered the assaults acts of aggression, The Daily Star newspaper reports.

A cease-fire that brought an end to an Israeli conflict with Hezbollah in 2006 called on the Shiite movement to disarm its militia but warned Israel against violating Lebanese sovereignty. The Daily Star reports Israel jets violate Lebanese airspace routinely.

A statement from caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam said Lebanon was trying to distance itself from the conflict.

"(Both leaders) stressed the need to uphold the self-disassociation policy toward the internal conflicts Syria is witnessing and not to get involved in (the crisis) in order to maintain the stability, security and safety of Lebanon," the statement read.

Israel said it had concerns that Iran was funneling weapons to Hezbollah, an ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Hezbollah said in response to claims of drone activity that it believed Israel was trying to drag it into a broader conflict.

The Israeli airstrike added to growing concerns about the scale of the Syrian conflict. A U.N. commission of inquiry said Monday, however, that it hasn't reached any conclusive findings regarding the alleged use of chemical weapons during the war.

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