Lebanon calls for support for army to counter Syria fallout

By REUTERS
March 24, 2014 15:41

 
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KUWAIT - Lebanon's foreign minister called on Arab countries on Monday to support the Lebanese army to counter fallout from Syria's civil war, which he said threatened to tear the country apart.

Around 1 million Syrian refugees have fled to Lebanon, a displacement that has strained public infrastructure and threatened to upset the sectarian balance.

This "is threatening the existence of Lebanon", Gebran Bassil told reporters before a meeting of Arab League leaders in Kuwait on Tuesday.

"This would create a danger also to the whole (of) humanity, because if the Lebanese model would vanish, then a big clash is to be expected between civilizations, religions and all aspects or differences in the world," he said, speaking English.

Power in Lebanon is split between Shi'ites, Sunnis, Druze and Christian leaders - reflecting the mixed population - and many fear that Sunni refugees, who represent the majority in Syria, could disrupt the fragile demographic balance.

Communal tensions in Lebanon were stoked last week by the fall of the Syrian border town of Yabroud to Syrian government forces and their allies in the Lebanese Shi'ite political and military movement Hezbollah.

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