ANTAKYA  - Turkey will close its border crossings with neighbouring strife-torn Syria on Wednesday until further notice, a Turkish official told AFP.

“We have taken such a measure for our citizens for security reasons,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity. “This is an open-ended measure and the reopening depends on the developments on the ground.”

The move comes after rebels seized two border posts along the border in clashes with the regime’s loyalist troops.

The official said foreigners who want to cross the border would be required to sign a paper warning them about potential danger in Syria. There are seven functioning border posts along the nearly 900-kilometre frontier between the two countries.

The rebels control Jarabulus, Bab al-Hawa and Al-Salama border crossings along the Turkish frontier. During last week’s clashes between rebels and Syrian army troops at Bab al-Hawa, which lies across Turkey’s Cilvegozu crossing, Turkish trucks were burned and ransacked.

Meanwhile, Syria and Lebanon traded accusations about cross-border violations, each saying the other had breached their shared frontier.

Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour sent an official protest note to Damascus at the request of President Michel Sleiman, who on Monday issued rare criticism of border infractions by Syria. Mansour told journalists he sent “a note to the Syrian side via diplomatic channels, raising the border violations and requesting that they not be repeated.”

Syria responded with its own letter of protest “dealing with violations on the Lebanese border against Syria in the past five months,” a diplomatic source told AFP. Syria demanded that Lebanon bolster border controls to prevent violations such as shooting into Syria, arms smuggling and infiltrations.

Sleiman on Monday accused Syria of violating Lebanese territory after a house in the eastern Qaa region was hit by a blast and shells fired from Syria slammed into several villages along the northern border.

The protest was the first of its kind by a Lebanese president since Syrian troops withdrew from Lebanon in 2005 after nearly three decades of political and military hegemony over its smaller neighbour.

There has been an increase of cross-border clashes, some of them deadly, and shelling from Syria into Lebanon in recent weeks, particularly in the north and the east border areas.

As-Safir daily on Tuesday quoted Syria’s ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Abdel Karim Ali, as saying “violations from the Lebanese side of the border threaten brotherly relations” between the two countries.

Syria says “terrorists” are infiltrating its territory through the Lebanese border and also accuses Lebanese groups of sending weapons destined for rebel forces who battling the Damascus regime.