Lebanon has ordered an investigation into video footage posted on the internet showing adults urging a small child to beat what is believed to be a young Syrian refugee with a club.

In the footage the child, named Abbas, slaps, kicks, punches and swings a club at an older boy.

Abbas, hit him, don't be afraid.

Male voice on video.

"I have asked the attorney general to take open an investigation," Ashraf Rifi, the justice minister, told AFP news agency on Saturday.

He said the boy being beaten was "most probably Syrian" and that his family "most probably lives in the Bekaa Valley" near the border between the two countries.

The video was posted on the Lebanese website yasour.org. Abbas, who appears to be five or six and has a pony tail, is urged by adults and children offscreen to hit his victim harder.

The boy tries to shield himself with his arms but a male adult voice orders him to bring his arms down and then tells Abbas to hit him again.

"Abbas, hit him, don't be afraid," the male voice says.

The victim whimpers, gets on his knees, implores God and tries again to shield himself.

Yasour said the voices in the background belong to the "Lebanese parents" of Abbas.

Lebanon hosts more than a million refugee from Syria's civil war.

Their presence in the country has exacerbated resources, prompting many Lebanese to blame Syrians for Lebanon's economic problems and chronic water shortages.

Source: AFP