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Russia: Syria uprising could spread to Lebanon

Wednesday - 5/23/2012, 5:23am  ET

MOSCOW (AP) - Russia's foreign minister says that the conflict in Syria could spread to neighboring Lebanon.

Speaking in a televised news conference on Wednesday, Sergei Lavrov said that there is "a tangible threat" of the Syrian uprising spilling over to Lebanon which "could end very badly. He warned about "an artificial escalation" of tensions between two main branches of Islam, Shiites and Sunnis.

Russia has been Syria's most powerful ally over the course of the uprising. Russia, along with China, has used its veto power to shield Damascus from U.N. sanctions.

The revolt in Syria began 15 months ago, and there are fears the unrest will lead to a regional conflagration, drawing in neighboring countries. The U.N. estimates the conflict has killed more than 9,000 people since March 2011.

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