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BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon's human rights minister called on Thursday for an inquiry into the controversial deaths of a number of Syrians while in the custody of the Lebanese army.

"To preserve the army's image and prevent any rumours that may be malicious, we ask the relevant leadership and judiciary to open a transparent investigation into ... the causes that led to the deaths," Ayman Choucair said in a statement.

The army said on Tuesday four Syrian men arrested last week during a raid on a refugee camp had died in detention from chronic illnesses aggravated by weather conditions. A Lebanese human rights group and a Syrian opposition coalition separately accused Lebanese forces of causing the deaths by torture.

(Reporting by Tom Perry and Ellen Francis; editing by Andrew Roche)

Reuters