Ministers Defend Silence on Incursion as March 14 Calls for Summoning Syrian Envoyإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Cabinet ministers defended the March 8-led government against critics who accused it of intentionally not issuing a statement against several incursions made by the Syrian army in Lebanese towns in the North and the eastern Bekaa valley.
Information Minister Walid Daouq told Free Lebanon radio that the government didn’t discuss the issue during its session on Wednesday “because it is being solved at the level of involved ministers.”
He said: “Lebanon is not attempting to take a stand from the Syrian issue … Each country respects the sovereignty of the other.”
Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi also defended the cabinet, saying “security agencies and the Lebanese army are fulfilling their duties.”
“This issue is being handled by security forces,” the minister told Voice of Lebanon radio (100.5).
“Everything else remains political talk,” he said about the criticism of the March 14-led opposition that the government avoided discussing the infiltration of Syrian troops into the eastern town of Arsal.
An Nahar daily quoted an eyewitness as saying that two BTR-type armored personnel carriers along with a pickup carrying Syrian soldiers crossed the border in the area of Kherbet Daoud near Arsal on Tuesday.
The soldiers raided the homes of brothers Zahri and Abdel Aziz al-Jabawi randomly firing from their machineguns. They later returned to the location where they came from.
On Monday, more than 20 Syrian soldiers infiltrated 500 meters deep into Lebanese territory in the area of Rajam Beit Khalaf and al-Kalkha in Wadi Khaled in the northern province of Akkar.
Two weeks ago, a unit from the Syrian military accidentally fired at the Lebanese army after it infiltrated an area near the town of al-Mwanseh also in the north.
Several March 14 officials blasted the government on Thursday for failing to deal with the issue.
“This is not the first time that Lebanese borders are being violated particularly in the Bekaa area of Arsal,” al-Mustaqbal bloc MP Jamal al-Jarrah told Future News.
“The government behaved as if nothing has happened,” he said, adding that the cabinet should summon the Syrian ambassador, Ali Abdul Karim Ali, to condemn the violations.
On Wednesday, Lawmaker Butros Harb also urged Lebanese authorities to “immediately” summon Ali to protest the incident.
Another al-Mustaqbal bloc MP, Ammar Houri, slammed the cabinet, saying the Syrian infiltration into the area of Arsal is a confirmation that the Lebanese government is “Syrian.”
“The Hizbullah cabinet remained neutral on a sovereign issue and buried its head like an ostrich in the sands,” he said.