Lebanon bolsters army presence at Syria border

The Lebanese on Tuesday began sending troop reinforcements to the border with strife-torn Syria after deadly attacks in the region, an army spokesman told AFP.

"Yes, we have started to reinforce our troops, and the operation will take us a week to 10 days to complete," the spokesman said on condition of anonymity.

The cabinet decided on Monday evening to dispatch army reinforcements to the border area in the north, after a series of frontier incidents in recent months, some of them deadly.

Syrian troops and armed men traded gunfire overnight in the border area and shells fell inside Lebanon, wounding civilians, the army said earlier.

The official Syrian news agency Sana confirmed the violence and said on Tuesday that troops foiled attempts by "armed terrorist groups" to infiltrate the border from Lebanon during the night.

The latest incident took place two days after clashes and blasts killed two people in the area.

France on Tuesday condemned Syrian shelling of areas of northern Lebanon and said it backed Lebanese plans to boost its military presence along the border.

"We support the decision of the Lebanese cabinet to strengthen the presence of the Lebanese armed forces at the border, to guarantee the security of Lebanon's territory and its people," French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said.

"France calls on Syria to strictly respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Lebanon, in conformity with United Nations resolutions," he added.

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