Syrian Rebels Threaten to Attack Lebanon Over Border Dispute

Free Syrian Army Vows Strikes Inside Lebanese Territory

by Jason Ditz, February 19, 2013

The Free Syrian Army (FSA) hasn’t even close to finished with its goal of taking over Syria, but the rebel faction is looking to move into cross-border entanglements in the next few days, threatening attacks on Lebanon if Hezbollah doesn’t back off in their border dispute.

The dispute on the Syria-Lebanon border has been growing over the past few days, with Hezbollah and FSA fighters killing one another in disputes over a number of border villages, nominally on the Syrian side but populated mostly Lebanese Shi’ites who have sought Hezbollah help in keep the mostly Sunni rebels out.

Hezbollah has been mostly mum on the matter, confirming the clashes but not really elaborating on what they believe the endgame will be. The rebels have responded with more and more bellicose proclamations, and even accused Hezbollah of an “invasion.”

In the end it is unlikely Hezbollah is going to back down over the villages, which the FSA has ordered evacuated, but exactly how much of an attack the FSA can launch across border remains to be seen. The FSA was at one point fueling sectarian fighting in Lebanon’s far north however, and limited moves aimed at kickstarting more internal Lebanese strife are more likely than a cross-border attacks in force.

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