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Syrian Violence Spills Into Turkey, Lebanon As Hezbollah Tries to Boost Image

Violence generated by the Syrian conflict spilled across both the Turkish and Lebanese borders on Monday and into Tuesday, deepening worries not just that chaos will splash beyond Syria but also that other actors may be drawn into the fighting.

A series of incidents erupted between Turkey and Syria, including one that saw Syrian missile systems lock onto nearly half a dozen Turkish F-16s patrolling the Turkey-Syria border.

The General Staff also said in a statement that a similar incident occurred on March 23, the same day Turkish fighter jets shot down a Syrian warplane for allegedly violating Turkey’s airspace. Tensions have since escalated between the neighboring countries as the army has deployed armed vehicles on the frontier further east as officials mull a possible operation to “protect” the tomb of Süleyman Şah, a crop of Turkish land which is located 25 kilometers inside Syria’s borders.

Meanwhile on Tuesday three rockets fired from Syria landed in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. A Sunni group claimed responsibility for the attack on the largely Shiite Hezbollah stronghold.

Hezbollah for its part, per analysis published Monday by the Lebanon-focused NOW Media outlet, has launched a “propaganda campaign” to drive up domestic support for its fighting in Syria on behalf of the Bashar al-Assad regime, a decision that is widely thought to have shattered the group’s brand as a Lebanese organization acting to defend Lebanese interests.

Whether intentionally or not, these recent incidents indicate two things: first, the victory in Yabroud – and any subsequent Hezbollah victories in Syria – will eventually lead to a sectarian war in Lebanon; and second, Hezbollah has transformed in the past two years from a Lebanese resistance group into a Shiite sectarian militia that could be deployed anywhere in the region to serve Iranian interests.

[Photo: CaspianReport / YouTube]