Syria has promised to deploy a battalion to help patrol its border with Lebanon to stop illegal arms shipments to Hizbullah guerrillas , UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said on Friday.
Annan, during a trip to Damascus, said on Sept. 1 that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad pledged to respect an embargo on weapons going into Lebanon and to help secure the frontier.
Elaborating on that pledge, Annan told reporters he had received a telephone call from Assad earlier this week promising "to deploy one battalion to the border to help control the border."
A battalion is usually composed of 600 to 800 soldiers.
Annan said Assad also had accepted international offers of assistance for equipment, training of Syrian personnel and "international expertise."
The secretary-general said he had asked Germany to provide "that expertise" along with what it is providing to the Lebanese government. "It's an attempt to tighten control on both sides of the border," Annan said.
Syria and Iran are widely believed to ship arms and money to the Lebanese-based Hizbullah.
Annan visited Syria during a Middle East swing through in an effort to implement an Aug. 11 U.N. Security Council resolution halting the war between Israel and Hizbollah and barring arms shipments to Hizbollah.
Israel had wanted the stationing of foreign peacekeepers along the Syrian-Lebanese border but Damascus refused.