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Syria mining Lebanon border: reports

The move prevents anti-Assad protesters from fleeing to Lebanon.

Syria bashar assad 2011 3 24Enlarge
A picture taken under the supervision of Syrian security shows a man walking past closed shops in the southern Syrian city of Daraa, hub for a week of anti-regime protests, on March 24, 2011. Syria, which is still under a 1963 emergency law banning demonstrations, is the latest state in the Middle East to witness an uprising against a long-running autocratic regime. (Anwar Amro/Getty Images)

Syria has been planting landmines along the country's border with Lebanon as Syrian refugees leave the country to escape the government's crackdown against protesters, reports the Associated Press.  

More than 5,000 Syrians have fled to Lebanon since the uprisings began in March, and the exodus of Syrians to both Lebanon and Turkey has been an embarrassment to Syrian President Bashar al Assad, reports the Associated Press. 

The mines have become the latest in a series of signs that Syria is working to prevent Lebanon from becoming a safe haven for the Syrian opposition. The move betrays Syria's increasing isolation in the region since the protests against Assad's regime began eight months ago.  

More from GlobalPost: Syrian president warns against western interference.  

However, according to a Syrian official, the anti-personnel mines are to prevent arms being smuggled into Syria.

"Syria has undertaken many measures to control the borders, including planting mines," the official told the Associated Press.

Syria borders five countries, with which it shares both religious and ethnic minorities. It is an ally to Lebanon's Hezbollah movement and Iran's Shiite theocracy. Recently, Turkey which was an ally, opened its border to anti-Assad activists and military rebels, reports the AFP.  

More from GlobalPost: Syria tries to rebrand its government.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/111101/syria-mining-lebanon-border