As People Try to Flee, Syria Plants Mines Along Border
Exodus to Lebanon an embarrassment for Bashar Assad, notes AP
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 1, 2011 11:25 AM CDT
Syrian citizens carry their belongings, as they cross the Lebanon- Syria border illegally to return to Syria, from the village of Arida, north Lebanon, Monday, Oct. 31, 2011.   (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

(Newser) – Syria is burying landmines along its border with Lebanon in what one official says is an effort to deter arms trafficking—but which the AP notes comes amidst an exodus of refugees fleeing the country to avoid the regime's violent crackdown on dissent. "Syria has undertaken many measures to control the borders, including planting mines," the official confirmed.

Residents of one Lebanese border town showed AP reporters a sand dune they say troops studded with mines on Thursday. "Since they planted the mines, no one dares to go to the border line," says one Lebanese man, who lives not far from the province that is home to the Syrian flashpoint city of Homs. Lebanese officials say they won’t interfere with Syria planting mines on its own side of the border, but do object to Syrian troops crossing over to abduct refugees, which they’ve done three times this year, according to police.