Lebanon opposition calls for Syria envoy's expulsion

AFP , Tuesday 4 Sep 2012

Lebanese 'March 14' opposition group calls for expulsion of Syrian ambassador to Beirut as persona non-grata for 'overseeing operations of kidnappings, assault and liquidations', the group asserts

Lebanon's opposition on Tuesday called for the expulsion of Syria's ambassador to Beirut, accusing him of being behind kidnappings and attacks on Syrian activists in the country.

In a memorandum, the "March 14" bloc urged President Michel Sleiman to "consider the Syrian ambassador to Lebanon as persona non grata because he... oversees operations of kidnapping, assault and liquidations," citing Syrian opposition activists.

The Lebanese opposition has repeatedly condemned the alleged abduction of Syrians in Lebanon by supporters of the embattled Damascus regime.

The March 14 coalition also called for "the suspension of the security agreement signed between the two countries," while warning Lebanese against visiting Syria and advising those in the country to leave.

Lebanon is sharply divided over the more than 17-month uprising against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose supporters inside the country are led by the powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah.

Since late July, Lebanon has twice protested to Syria about violations of its territory.

Shelling from Syria into Lebanon and cross-border shootings have become near-daily occurrences in recent months according to officials in Beirut, and the spillover of the conflict has worried the international community.

More than 150,000 Syrians have fled to Lebanon, where supporters and opponents of Assad's regime have waged several rounds of deadly clashes in the northern city of Tripoli.

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