Naharnet

Bassil Urges International Support for Army, Says Region Fell in Hands of ISIL and Israel

Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil called on Monday on the international community to support Lebanon and offer aid to the Lebanese army to confront terrorism, considering the region to be stuck between Islamist groups and Israel.

“Terrorism is moving from an area to another but it will surely be buried on Lebanese territories,” Bassil said during a meeting for the Palestine Committee of the Non-Aligned Movement held in Tehran.

He pointed out that the developments in the Gaza Strip, the Iraqi city of Mosul and the northeastern border town of Arsal are the same.

“The region has fallen between ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) and Israel,” Bassil told conferees.

“They have the same principles,” he added.

Bassil vowed that Lebanon will break the connection between them.

“Killing in the name of religion is never justified and as Lebanese we settled our choices since the creation of our country,” he told officials gathered in Iran, noting that “there is no room for any unilateral decision in the world.”

The FM accused Syrian refugees without naming them of aiding gunmen in the town of Arsal.

“Instead of thanking the residents of Arsal, who welcomed them, they are assisting” armed men.

Arsal is home to 40,000 residents and increased to 120,000 after Syrians fled the war raging in their country.

The Sunni-majority area is sympathetic to the uprising against Bashar Assad, whose regime has regularly launched air raids in the area that it says target opposition fighters holed up in the mountainous region around Arsal.

The violence, which raged in Arsal on Saturday between gunmen and the Lebanese army, is the worst to hit the area since the beginning of the war in neighboring Syria in 2011.

“Syrian refugees in Arsal agreed with foreign terrorist groups on occupying the town,” Bassil added.

The Lebanese official called on conferees to take into consideration Lebanon's fight against Israel, saying: “Palestinians will bury the Israeli terrorism like the resistance and the army in 2006 buried it.”

Israel launched a military operation in Gaza on July 8 in response to weeks of heavy rocket fire and has since carried out more than 4,600 airstrikes across the crowded seaside territory. It sent in ground forces on July 17 in what it said was a mission to destroy the tunnels used by Hamas to carry out attacks inside Israel.

The Gaza war, now in its fourth week, has left more than 1,800 Palestinians and more than 60 Israelis dead.

H.K.

G.K.


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