UN chief Ban Ki-moon has expressed grave concern about the impact of the Syria's crisis on neighbouring Lebanon and highlighted an increase in tensions along their common border.
In a report to the security council released on Thursday, Ban also highlighted allegations of arms trafficking across the Syrian-Lebanese border and stressed that Lebanon must not be 'drawn into regional turmoil'.
'Largely as a result of the deteriorating situation in Syria, Lebanon has witnessed crossborder clashes and shelling; arms smuggling; the influx of thousands of refugees; deadly Alawi-Sunni clashes; and politically motivated assassination attempts, which destabilised the country,' said Ban.
He added: 'I am deeply concerned by the impact of the Syrian crisis on Lebanon.'
The report notes a significant increase of shelling incidents and incursions by Syrian government forces, some of which targeted Lebanese border villages.
There were 31 incidents in July alone, according to the document, compared to 7 in the first half of the year.
Ban referenced continued reports of arms trafficking in both directions along the common border, saying he viewed these 'with the utmost seriousness', but noted the United Nations did not have the means to independently verify them.
'The allegations of arms trafficking across the Syrian-Lebanese border and the repeated incidents along the border that caused death and injury to civilians emphasise the urgent need to improve the management and control of Lebanon's land borders,' Ban said.
Such action was necessary in order to keep armed groups and militias in Lebanon from widening their arsenal of weapons, which constitutes a threat to both domestic and regional peace, Ban added.
In particular, Ban called Hezbollah's 'sizeable sophisticated military capabilities' that are outside the control of the Lebanese government a matter of grave concern.
Ban said that a drone launched by Hezbollah and shot down by Israel on October 6 was 'a reckless provocation that could lead to a dangerous escalation threatening Lebanon's stability'.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah boasted his group sent the sophisticated unmanned drone over Israel, saying the device was built by the Jewish state's archfoe Iran.
'It is imperative not to let Lebanon be drawn into regional turmoil,' Ban said. 'Lebanon must not be used anymore as a battleground for actors seeking to advance their own interests at the country's expense or to destabilise the region.'
Ban's remarks come as international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, on a visit to Lebanon, warned that the Syria conflict risks setting the region 'ablaze'.