Hasbani: Military Institution Sole Entity Entitled to Defend Lebanon's Territory

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health Ghassan Hasbani stressed on Thursday that the country's military institution is the only entity entitled to defend Lebanon and protect its border.

“The military institution is entitled to defend Lebanon and its border. The Lebanese army is enforcing its positions in the Bekaa valley area. It is ready to wage the battle and will choose the timing it sees suitable to eliminate the terror groups from the border,” Hasbani told VDL (93.3) in an interview.

Reinforcements from the army's elite units were pouring into the Bekaa region on Wednesday for a possible operation against the jihadist Islamic State group in the outskirts of the border towns of al-Qaa and Ras Baalbek.

State-run National News Agency said the army's Airborne Regiment reinforced its posts in Ras Baalbek, al-Qaa and the neighboring areas, staged patrols and set up new military points “in anticipation of any infiltration or escape attempts by the militants into the two towns.”

The move comes as Hizbullah wages an offensive across the scraggy landscape of Arsal's outskirts to oust what it says are ex-al-Qaida Syrian jihadists.

On the kidnapped servicemen, Hasbani said: “Military solution or negotiations for the return of (kidnapped) servicemen must be left to the army.”

He was referring to servicemen taken hostage by the Islamic State group during the 2014 battles in the outskirts of Arsal.

In light of the battle being waged in the outskirts of Arsal between Hizbullah and al-Nusra Front, the Minister said that terrorists might have a reaction as the result of the military pressure on the battle fronts.

“Terrorists may possibly make a reaction. Precaution is an obligation," he concluded.

Source: Naharnet, Agence France Presse

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