Mashnouq Expresses Unwavering Support to Army, Says Gunmen Must be Kicked Outإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq voiced on Monday the complete support for the Lebanese army to rescue the northeastern border town of Arsal and its residents.
“Our choice is not arguable and any other stances are merely rejected and out of place and time,” Mashnouq said in comments published in As Safir newspaper.
The minister, who is loyal to al-Mustaqbal movement, stressed the importance of reaching political unity over the army's plan to free “the occupied Arsal.”
“The Syrian gunmen must be thrown out of the area,” Mashnouq told the newspaper.
He revealed that Higher Defense Council chief General Mohammed Kheir was tasked with carrying out the necessary contacts to reach a truce in the area.
The violence is the worst to hit Arsal since the beginning of the war in neighboring Syria in 2011.
The attack began Saturday as Syrian rebels made a cross-border raid into Arsal, some 90 kilometers (55 miles) from the capital, Beirut. The clashes continued into Sunday around the municipal building and an army checkpoint.
The raid came hours after the army said troops detained Syrian Imad Ahmed Jomaa, who identified himself as a member of the Nusra Front.
The Nusra Front is one of the most powerful groups fighting to overthrow the rule of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Arsal, which currently hosts tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, has frequently been the scene of conflict with Lebanese security forces.
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.