Syria reopens border with Lebanon

Syrian authorities reopened a border crossing with northeastern Lebanon, two weeks after closing it for security reasons.

The Qaa-Jousseh crossing was reopened to traffic in both directions at around 2 p.m. (1100 GMT), a senior Lebanese security official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

There was no immediate comment from Syria.

Syria had said the June 20 closure, which came as Lebanon's army clashed with militants in a Palestinian refugee camp near the northern city of Tripoli, was a precautionary security measure. Syrian authorities had closed the two other crossings with northern Lebanon at the beginning of the clashes in May.

The crossing's closure left only one land border crossing between the two countries open the main Beirut-Damascus link in the eastern Bekaa Valley.

Since Syrian troops withdrew from Lebanon in 2005 under international pressure, Syria has used the flow of goods and people across the border as a tactic against Lebanon, Lebanese opponents of Damascus have said.

Lebanon's anti-Syrian parliamentary majority has repeatedly demanded the Arabs act to end Syrian interference in Lebanese affairs and alleged smuggling of weapons and militants into this country. Syria denies the accusations.

Damascus has in the past threatened to close its land border with Lebanon if an international force is deployed along the boundary to prevent the illegal transfer of weapons to Lebanon, as was envisaged in a U.N. Security Council resolution that ended last summer's 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas.

A full closure of Lebanon's border with Syria would sever Beirut's land links with the Arab world and could severely hurt its economy.