Watchdog renews calls for Lebanese probe in Syrian deaths



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BEIRUT (AP) — An international watchdog has renewed its calls for an independent and transparent investigation into the recent deaths of at least four Syrians in Lebanese army custody, as well as allegations of torture and ill-treatment of the detained.

The men were detained in a security raid earlier this month that netted 355 Syrians in refugee settlements in and around the town of Arsal, near the Syrian border. The army had said four of the detained died from chronic health conditions, but the local Syrians alleged they died under beatings and torture.

Thursday's statement from Human Rights Watch says it has credible reports that a fifth Syrian detainee had also died in custody. The New York-based group also spoke with released detainees who said the army personnel beat and ill-treated them.

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