UK & World News
Gulf States Order Citizens To Leave Lebanon
Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have ordered their citizens to leave Lebanon after a series of kidnappings linked to neighbouring Syria, where the conflict has intensified.
The Gulf states urged their citizens to leave Lebanon amid reports that a gunmen from a Lebanese Shi'ite clan had kidnapped more than 20 people, including a Turk, a Saudi and several Syrians, in retaliation for the capture of one of their kinsmen in Syria's capital Damascus.
The incident, in an area of Lebanon controlled by Hezbollah Shi'ite militants, raised the risk that the sectarian violence driving the conflict in Syria will spread to its neighbour.
Saudi Arabia, which is opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, told its citizens to leave immediately after "clear threats against them," Lebanon's National News Agency said.
The United Arab Emirates issued a similar warning, with Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan tweeting: "Unfortunately, the situation is very dangerous."
In Qatar, the state news agency said: "Due to unstable security situation, Qatar's embassy in Beirut has urged Qatari nationals to leave Lebanon immediately."
It came as the United Nations issued a damning report into the conflict in Syria and a deadly massacre in the Syrian town of Azaz, near the Turkish border, was reported.
A doctor in Azaz said up to 30 people were killed and almost 200 others wounded when a government fighter jet bombarded the town where Syrian rebels were holding 11 Lebanese hostages.
Meanwhile, UN investigators have concluded that Syrian military forces and rebel fighters have both committed crimes against humanity during the 17-month uprising against President Bashar al Assad's rule.
The panel appointed by the UN Human Rights Council said that anti-government groups had carried out murders, extrajudicial killings and torture but with less "gravity, frequency and scale" than regime loyalists.
It also blamed the government and its Shabiha militia for the deaths of more than 100 civilians, many of them children, in the village of Houla in May.
The findings of the investigation were released as the rebels clashed with Syrian troops in Damascus, just hours after a bomb exploded near a hotel used by UN observers, wounding at least three people.
The fighting broke out after the Free Syrian Army launched an attack on government checkpoints in the district of Mezze, according to opposition activists.
It was also reported that smoke could be seen coming from the Iranian embassy building, which is under construction in the area.
Sky's foreign affairs editor Tim Marshall, reporting from the Syrian capital, said he had heard more than 20 explosions in just 15 minutes.
"I am guessing these are mortar rounds. I can't say for sure but they sound like mortar rounds," he said.
"They are concentrated very much into one area behind the Tishreen stadium."
None of the injured were believed to be members of the UN mission sent to Syria to monitor former special envoy Kofi Annan's six-point peace plan aimed at ending the uprising.
The UN is due to meet on Thursday to discuss the future of its Supervision Mission in Syria.
Baroness Amos, the UN emergency co-ordinator, is currently in Damascus meeting Syrians displaced by the fighting. On the first day of the three-day visit, she went to an emergency shelter set up in a school.
"Clearly the situation has got worse since I was here in March," she said.
She added: "We will, through our partners the Syrian Arab Red Crescent who, as you know, have been doing an extremely good job trying to make sure the people who need help get help, we will continue to support them but also work to scale up our own efforts."
what do you think?
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Is this not terrorism?????????? I'm sure the majority of victims will be innocent civilians. I thought the reason for the uprising was the killing of civilians by the Assad regime? Sounds like the rebels are doing a pretty good job of it themselves.
Can't let the deaths of civilians get in the way of big power politics Steven. Iran used to have Saddam next door, keeping them on the back foot until wise western politicos decided he could be a useful fall-guy. With that curb removed Israel feels threatened by Iran's nuclear ambitions, so lobbying by the chosen money people in Washington to weaken Iran (Shia) by supporting a Sunni insurection in Iran's ally, Syria (Alliwite Shia) backed by money and weapons from Saudi, Qatar etc (Sunni). Assad's regime (Aliwite Shia) can't back-down because they know all the minority Alawites and christian populations will get creamed by the Sunni "freedom fighters" if they lose. But of course it's all about democracy - yeah, right MSM don't explain the real story or we might start asking akward questions.
Exactly. The media love to make it so black and white, good versus evil, democracy versus dictatorship. I don't agree with the Russians much, but can't help but think they got it right.
the british helped put SADDAM in power to control the area, then they got rid of him because they thought they could do it themselves? proof of beter the devil you know?
Oh dear, deleted for mentioning the attrocities carried out by Hague's rebel friends.
You've probably been reported by one of the people who believe all the half truths our media are telling them.
Yes the Thought Police always do a good job of perpetuating the lie...
Well stone the crows! they have undeleted my comment, is this a first?
Normal service has been resumed, they've deleted it again. Make your mind up will you.
Look at Egypt. Look at Libya. Look at Iraq. These countries need a strong-man to keep the myriad tribes and sects away from each others throats. Now there is a vaccum look at the results. Imagine it happening to Saudi Arabia?
Lorgar is right - if the House of Saud ever fell ........
Where is the un when israel the zionist state is committing crimes against humanity, genocide, a holocaust against the palestinian people? Funny how they claim to have suffered a holcaust, if they actually did they wouldn't have been committing this themselves.
The root of the troubles in the middle east and the west is scared to confront it. While the yanks have there backs.
Are you seriously denying the Holocaust? And the article is about Syria not Israel.
Well said Holly........ I have said this for years... no one seems to care what Israel does
Well I must say I'm so surprised to hear this! Wow. . THIS IS NOT BRITAINS WAR
But your tax money is going to the "rebels".
But your tax money is going to the"rebels".
Orange censored my last comment try again. We have known that Obarma and Cameron have been backing terrorists for years Libya and Syria, killing many innocent civilians The B.B.C. even mention the L.I.B.O.R. scandal we have been commenting on it for over 12 months.
And we are supporting the rebels who are also committing crimes and murders. No wonder we are so badly received in the middle east. It just makes you ashamed to know that our government are contributing to the crimes of the rebels. Where as two wrongs do not make a right we do not need to be contributing to this. Perhaps the UK government can be brought to justice as aiding and abetting is as good as committing the war crimes yourself.
We have enough problems on our own frontdoor step without involving ourselves with every other country. Why won't David Cameron listen to his own people and what they want for a change.
who cares what happens in these countries. we should just keep our big interfering noses out and let them sort their own troubles.
We care because we are human beings Emma...... they are people just like you and me. The situation now is dangerous for us all... so start caring