Foreign Office expected to change Lebanon travel advice

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Lebanese masked gunmen from the al-Muqdad clan ready to speak to the press in Beirut's southern suburbs on August 15, 2012. The Muqdads, a large Lebanese Shiite Muslim clan, said it has kidnapped at least 20 Syrians to try to secure the release of a family member abducted near Damascus this week
Lebanese masked gunmen from the al-Muqdad clan ready to speak to the press in Beirut's southern suburbs on August 15, 2012. The Muqdads, a large Lebanese Shiite Muslim clan, said it has kidnapped at least 20 Syrians to try to secure the release of a family member abducted near Damascus this week

The Foreign Office may be about to change travel advice for Brits in Lebanon, after the Syria conflict threatened to spill over into the neighbouring state.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait urged their citizens to leave the country immediately yesterday, amid a spate of kidnappings not far from the Syrian border.

Sources in the Foreign Office told politics.co.uk they were looking carefully at events in Lebanon and may be about to "update" their advice for the country.

Twenty people were kidnapped yesterday, including a Turk, a Saudi and several Syrians, in a tit-for-tat action by a prominent Syrian clan following a separate kidnapping days earlier.


The development comes as UN investigators accuse Syrian troops and militias of war crimes in the Houla massacre last May, which led to 108 deaths.

Lebanon, which is split by religious and sectarian divides and underwent its own bloody civil war, has been desperately trying to shield itself from the conflict in Syria.

The larger neighbour has often been accused of interfering in Lebanon's affairs, not least via Hezbollah, and most analysts believe the instability in Syria will inevitably spread across the region.

That presents a nightmare scenario for western leaders, who have hoped the violence can be contained and not destabilise the entire region.

The UN Security Council meets in New York today to discuss the renewal of the observer mission to Syria after it expires on Sunday.

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