Lebanese skier shot by Syrian border guards

BEIRUT Mon Apr 30, 2012 3:41pm EDT

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BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian soldiers fired at a group of one Swiss and three Lebanese skiers along the mountainous border on Monday, wounding one, after they mistook them for smugglers, Lebanese security sources said.

The group of four were skiing on Mount Herman in Lebanon's east when one of the Lebanese men, Antoine Hajj, was shot in the shoulder, they said.

"Once they came under fire from the Syrian army post, the skiers started screaming to them to hold fire," the security source said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the press.

The Syrian border guards then entered Lebanon, he said, and told the skiers that they could leave. They then walked for four hours to the nearest Lebanese security post, he added.

The Syrian army has at times entered Lebanon briefly and opened fire on people they suspect of smuggling weapons into Syria across the poorly demarcated border.

According to UN estimates, more than 9,000 people have been killed in violence across Syria since protests demanding the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad broke out in March 2011.

Damascus says 2,600 of its personnel have been killed in the fighting.

(Reporting by Mariam Karouny; Writing by Oliver Holmes Editing by Maria Golovnina)

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