BEIRUT — A Human Rights Watch report released Monday accused both the Syrian government and the insurgency of striking residential areas in neighboring Lebanon on several occasions and killing a number of its citizens. The cross-border attacks appeared to be largely indiscriminate and threatened to further destabilize the Syrian-Lebanese frontier, Human Rights Watch said.
While the Syrian government and armed opposition groups have both said that their attacks on Lebanese villages were in retaliation for provocations, Human Rights Watch said it had not found any evidence of military targets when it visited the Lebanese villages that had been attacked. “The nature of the rockets and launchers that appear to have been used, together with the lack of any evidence of military targets in the villages, strongly suggests these attacks were indiscriminate and therefore violate the laws of war,” Human Rights Watch said in a summary of the report on its website.
Lebanon has officially adopted a policy of dissociation from the Syrian conflict, which has pitted the government of President Bashar Assad against a Sunni-dominated rebellion, but violence is beginning to spill over the border, intensifying sectarian tensions in Lebanon.
Insurgents and their sympathizers have accused Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militant group that supports Assad, of sending fighters into the Syrian town of Qusayr in recent weeks. On Sunday, rebel groups in Qusayr threatened to “transfer the battle of blood into the heart of Lebanon” because of what it called incitement by Hezbollah.
Hezbollah has not commented on the Syrian rebels’ accusations, but it has said that Lebanese citizens living inside Syria have been attacked and that they have the right to defend themselves.
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