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Lebanon should stay out of Syria conflict, PM says

Published: Updated:

Lebanon should stay out of the Syria conflict and Hezbollah’s involvement is “not helping matters,” Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam told French daily Le Figaro in an interview published Friday.

The Lebanon-based Shiite movement Hezbollah has sent its fighters to help Syrian President Bashar al-Assad troops recapture the key town of Qusayr near the border with Lebanon.

“Lebanon has all the more need to keep its distance from what is going on in Syria given that the situation there is so heated,” he told the paper.

“We must at all price preserve national unity.”

“And obviously, Hezbollah's military involvement is not helping matters.”

Hezbollah’s intervention was not a reason to give up efforts to keep Lebanon out of the Syria conflict, he insisted.

“We have to convince Hezbollah to not get any deeper into Syria,” he said.

In an interview broadcast Thursday, Assad acknowledged that Hezbollah fighters were helping his forces in the battle for Qusayr and said he was “very confident” of victory.

He also threatened Israel with renewed fighting in the Golan Heights and said Russia was committed to supplying him with advanced missiles.

Activists say more than 94,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict since it started March 2011.