Lebanon closes 'military route' at Syria border

Lebanon has closed a military route that crossed its border into Syria to stop the unmonitored flow of high-ranking officials and goods that has continued between both countries for nearly three decades, the official National News Agency reported Sunday. The army move came nearly eight months after Syria, under heavy international pressure following the February 14 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, withdrew its troops from Lebanon, ending 29 years of military and political control of this country. "The Army Command completed on December 18 measures of closing the military route once and for all at the Masnaa area on the Lebanese-Syrian borders," the agency quoted a Lebanese Army statement as saying. Lebanon's leading newspaper An-Nahar reported Sunday that the army blocked the military road with metal and rock barricades and tires and posted a sign saying, "The military road is closed." The Lebanese Army canceled all permits to use the route on October 22, "except for Lebanese military personnel going to Damascus on official assignments relating to the requirements of logistical support between the two brotherly armies," according to the agency report.