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Hezbollah fighter killed in Syria buried in Lebanon

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The body of a Hezbollah member killed in fighting in Syria was buried in southern Lebanon early on Sunday, several residents of the man's village told AFP.

"The funeral of Hassan Nimr Shartuni, 25, was this morning in Mays al-Jabal after the arrival of his body from Syria where he was killed in fighting yesterday (Saturday)," one resident told AFP.

Two other residents, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the details of Shartuni's burial.

Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah has in recent months buried a number of fighters killed in Syria, without publicly disclosing how the men were killed, or where.

Sources close to the movement have said only that the men were killed "while carrying out their jihadist duty."

The group has acknowledged that its members living in Syrian villages on the border with Lebanon have taken part in battles against "armed groups" in self-defence.

But it refuses to discuss allegations by Syrian rebels that it has sent fighters from Lebanon to bolster the forces of its ally, President Bashar al-Assad.

The issue has inflamed tensions in Lebanon, where the domestic opposition which backs the Syrian uprising has accused Hezbollah of endangering the country by intervening in the conflict.

The group has in turn accused the opposition of backing the Syrian uprising and turning a blind eye to the flow of weapons and Syrian rebels across the Lebanese border.

The Syrian conflict, which began with peaceful protests against the Assad regime, is now in its third year.

The United Nations says that at least 70,000 people have been killed, and more than one million Syrians have been forced to seek refuge abroad. Millions more have been internally displaced.

On Saturday, at least 126 people were killed in fighting across the country, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog -- 54 rebels, 28 regime forces and 44 civilians.

str-rd/sah/srm

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130317/hezbollah-fighter-killed-syria-buried-lebanon