News Column

U.S. Condemns Syrian Air Strike on Lebanon

June 13, 2013

Washington condemned as "unacceptable provocation" Syria's recent helicopter attack on the Lebanese border town of Arsal and warned of the incident's impact on Lebanon.

"The Syrian regime's aggression is an unacceptable provocation and risks dragging Lebanon into the Syrian conflict," State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki told a press briefing in Washington Wednesday.

She said the U.S. condemns "in the strongest terms" Wednesday's helicopter attack "by the Syrian regime" on Arsal in east Lebanon.

"We fully condemn all attacks originating from Syria against Lebanese territory, particularly the targeting of civilians, and call for all parties to respect the stability, sovereignty, and independence of Lebanon," she said.

Psaki said the U.S. has been "very concerned for a couple of weeks now about the overflow of these attacks and these issues into Lebanon and the impact it's had there."

She said Washington "joins the international community in reiterating our call for all parties in Lebanon to respect Lebanon's disassociation policy."

Syrian helicopter gunships fired several rockets into Arsal Wednesday, wounding one person and damaging three homes near the Arsal municipality.

Psaki said the U.S. equally condemns the "brutal, unprovoked gunfire by Hezbollah supporters on peaceful protestors outside the Iranian Embassy on Sunday that led to the death of a student leader."

She said the incident underscored the need for all parties in the region to avoid any actions that would "undermine Lebanon's security and stability, exacerbate the crisis in Syria, increase the propensity for spillover violence, and negatively impact civilian populations."

A small group of protesters from the Lebanese Option Party, headed by Shiite politician Ahmad al-Assad, were attacked by Hezbollah supporters with sticks and guns when they arrived outside the Iranian embassy in Beirut for a scheduled protest Sunday against Hezbollah's involvement in Syria.


(c)2013 The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)

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Source: Copyright Daily Star, The (Beirut, Lebanon) 2013

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