Syria accuses Lebanon of "incubating" terrorists (REUTERS) By Louis Charbonneau and Michelle Nichols UNITED NATIONS 05/18/12 4:34pm EDT)
Reuters News Service
Reuters News Service Articles-Index-Top
(Reuters) - Damascus has sent a letter to the United Nations accusing
some Lebanese areas of helping al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood to
take root along the Syrian border, adding to its criticism of Turkey
and Libya for allegedly providing arms to Syrian rebels.
"Some Lebanese areas next to the Syrian border are incubating
terrorist elements from al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, who are
messing with the security of Syrian citizens and work on undermining
the United Nations Special Envoy´s plan," Syrian U.N. Ambassador
Bashar Ja´afari wrote.
The letter, which was sent to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and
the Security Council, was delivered on Thursday and obtained by
Reuters on Friday.
"In some areas (of Lebanon) ... warehouses have been set up for
weapons and ammunition that is arriving to Lebanon illegally, either
by sea, or sometimes through using the planes of specific countries
to transport weapons to Lebanon and then smuggle them to Syria, under
the excuse that they (aircraft) are carrying humanitarian aid for
Syrian refugees," Ja´afari said.
He specifically said charities run by Lebanese Salafists and the
Future Movement, led by the son of assassinated statesman Rafik al-
Hariri, were being used to provide safe haven to terrorists in
Lebanon has had a complicated relationship with Syria, which
continues to exercise some influence over its neighbor despite the
2005 departure of thousands of Syrian troops and intelligence
operatives from Lebanese soil.
Last week Ja´afari accused Turkey and Libya arming Syria´s
opposition, which forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have
tried unsuccessfully for 14 months to crush, killing over 10,000
people in the process, according to the United Nations.
"The case of the ship Lutfullah 2, which was intercepted by the
Lebanese Army, proves that Libya and Turkey are cooperating with
other States to send murderous weapons to terrorist groups, in order
to wreak more carnage and destruction," he said in a letter to Ban
and the Security Council last week.
Lebanese authorities said that they seized a large consignment of
Libyan weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades and heavy caliber
ammunition, from the ship, which it intercepted in the Mediterranean.
Turkey reacted this week with a vehement denial. "Turkey strongly
rejects the unfounded allegations," Turkish Ambassador Ertugrul
Apakan said in a response to Ban and the council.
NO ´HARD EVIDENCE´ OF AL QAEDA LINK
In comments that appeared to bolster Syria´s complaints about foreign
militants, Secretary-General Ban told a youth event at U.N.
headquarters in New York on Thursday he believed al Qaeda was
responsible for two suicide car bombs that killed at least 55 people
in Syria last week.
But on Friday Ban´s spokesman Martin Nesirky said there was no hard
evidence to suggest al Qaeda carried out the attack.
"You´ll notice that he (Ban) used the words ´I believe.´ Do we have
hard conclusive evidence at this point? No we don´t," Nesirky told
reporters. "There´s a genuine concern shared by the secretary-general
that terrorist groups are already taking advantage of the continued
violence and insecurity in Syria."
"The Damascus attacks were clearly carried out by a group with
organization and intent. Some of the attacks we´ve seen clearly bear
some terrorist hallmarks with which we´re familiar from elsewhere,"
Damascus has maintained all along that it is facing a "terrorist"
conspiracy funded and directed from abroad, not least by resource-
rich Gulf monarchies Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which have called for
arming the fighters aiming to oust Assad.
Syria earlier this month sent the United Nations the names of 26
foreign nationals it said had been apprehended after coming to fight
in Syria. It described 20 of those as members of al Qaeda who had
entered the country from Turkey.
Forces loyal to Assad shot two protesters in the capital Damascus on
Friday and fired in the air to break up thousands of anti-government
demonstrators in the commercial hub of Aleppo, opposition activists
(Additional reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis and Sami Aboudi; Editing
by Jackie Frank) (© Thomson Reuters 2012. 05/18/12)
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY