Berri Denounces Sidon Clashes, Describes Assault on Army as 'Treason'

Speaker Nabih Berri considered on Monday that targeting the army is rejected and condemned, describing it as a “treason.”

“The army command has the right to do whatever it sees appropriate to defend the country and prevent anyone from meddling with its security,” Berri said in comments published in An Nahar newspaper.

The speaker warned that no one will survive if the country drowned in sedition.

According to the newspaper, Berri contacted on Sunday ex-Prime Minister and the head of al-Mustaqbal movement, Saad Hariri, and MP Fouad Saniora.

He stressed to the officials that Hizbullah and AMAL members are not engaged in the battles in the southern city of Sidon.

At least twelve Lebanese soldiers were killed in less than 24 hours in clashes with supporters of Salafist cleric Sheikh Ahmed al-Asir in the Sidon suburb of Abra.

Abra is home to a mosque, Bilal bin Rabah, where Asir leads the main weekly prayers on Fridays. The sheikh believes Hizbullah uses apartments in Abra to keep him under surveillance.

He also says the Lebanese army has provided cover to Hizbullah, whose members are fighting alongside Syrian President Bashar Assad's troops against rebels.

Asir was unknown until around two years ago, when he gained prominence for his opposition to Hizbullah and its ally Assad.

The military urged political leaders in Sidon to choose sides and to stand either alongside the army, or with "those who promote strife and the killing of troops".

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