Presidency: Calls for Jihad against Army are Uselessإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The presidency hailed on Tuesday the efforts of the Lebanese army in containing the clashes in the southern city of Sidon.
It said in a statement: “The calls for the soldiers to defect and others to wage jihad against the army will not yield their desired results.”
The army was granted political cover as soon as the clashes broke out, it added.
“President Michel Suleiman had called on soldiers to ignore political disputes that are taking place for political gain at the expense of the officers' lives,” it continued.
“The army has soldiers that are willing to make sacrifices regardless of how great they may be,” stressed the presidency statement.
“Lebanon is strong because it enjoys a brave military leadership that commits to political decisions,” it said.
Suleiman offered his condolences to the families of the victims of the Sidon clashes, expressing his support to Army Commander General Jean Qahwaji.
At least 16 soldiers were killed and 50 were wounded in two days of clashes with the armed supporters of Salafist cleric Sheikh Ahmed al-Asir in Sidon.
More than 20 of al-Asir's supporters were killed, according to a security official.
Dozens of them were also arrested, but there was no sign of the cleric.