Arsal Fighting Enters Third Day as Ceasefire Being Negotiated

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
  • W460
  • W460
  • W460

Fierce fighting raged for the third day in the mountains around the northeastern border town of Arsal on Monday as the army announced 14 soldiers have been killed in the battles and as efforts to reach a ceasefire were underway.

A military source told LBCI television: “We have allowed a temporary ceasefire so that a Muslim Scholars Committee delegation can enter Arsal and return with the hostage soldiers, which is the first condition for continuing the implementation of the agreement's remaining points.”

There will be no truce, but rather a temporary ceasefire aimed at allowing the negotiating delegation to enter the town, explained LBCI.

The delegation stayed in the Bekaa's Chtaura for a while in the evening before heading to Arsal accompanied by a security convoy, several media outlets reported.

The initiative involves a ceasefire, the withdrawal of all gunmen from all Lebanese territories, the entry of medical convoys and the handing over of all hostages, it added.

The release of Imad Ahmed Jomaa, the al-Nusra Front official whose arrest on Saturday sparked the unrest, will remain under wraps.

OTV reported that a Muslim Scholars Committee delegation will head to Arsal after a meeting at the Grand Serail and the ceasefire is expected to start at 6:00 p.m.

Earlier, the army announced that 14 troops were killed and 86 wounded, while 22 are missing in the Arsal fighting.

Search operations are underway to find them, added the army in a statement on Monday afternoon.

“The army has been fighting armed terrorists and takfiris on a number of fronts in Arsal,” it continued, saying it has completed bolstering its positions on the frontlines and connecting them with the other positions for reinforcements when needed.

“Army units are chasing the armed groups that are still targeting soldiers and unarmed civilians in the town,” added the statement.

Earlier, the armed seized complete control of the technical school in Arsal after it came under attack by the terrorist groups.

“Meanwhile, the terrorist groups have been attacking the residents of Arsal and are preventing them from leaving the town,” continued the statement.

“On Sunday, the gunmen killed a number of citizens who refused to comply with their orders,” concluded the communique.

Soldiers fired mortar shells into the mountains and the sound of heavy machine gun fire could also be heard in the area of Arsal, an Agence France Presse correspondent on the outskirts of the town had reported earlier.

Cracks of heavy gunfire and the thud of shells could be heard from a distance as tanks pounded rebel positions in and around Arsal. A dozen Lebanese army flatbed trucks were seen carrying tanks toward the outskirts of Arsal on Monday.

In the early hours of Monday morning, several hundred people fled the town during a lull in the fighting.

They packed into pick-up trucks and cars to drive out of the region, where militants began fighting the Lebanese army on Saturday afternoon.

However, the army prevented Syrians from leaving Arsal.

Among those fleeing was Aziza Rayed, in her 60s, who said her family was going to the nearby border town of Qaa.

"We are leaving to take these children to a safer place," she said, her children and grandchildren in the back of a pickup truck.

The National News Agency reported on Monday however that the gunmen were preventing residents from fleeing the town, noting that they were being used as human shields.

Media reports said that fire swept through an encampment for Syrian refugees in the area.

The army had reportedly repelled an attack by around 600 gunmen on an army checkpoint near Arsal's technical school.

The clashes began after the arrest of a Syrian man accused of belonging to al-Qaida's Syrian branch Al-Nusra Front.

Following his arrest, gunmen surrounded army posts before opening fire, sparking the clashes.

An unspecified number of policeman were also reported missing in the unrest, with army chief General Jean Qahwaji saying Sunday that the troops might have been taken hostage.

Sheikh Mustafa al-Hujairi, a resident of Arsal, told MTV that the 16 ISF members and 19 soldiers “are safe and being held inside Lebanon, not Syria.”

He accused Hizbullah of targeting Lebanese and Syrian civilians in Arsal, demanding that the officials intervene immediately to tackle the situation.

“I do not belong to the al-Nusra Front, but I acted as a mediator with the group to protect the residents of Arsal,” he explained after reports emerged over his affiliations.

“I do not know when the security forces will be released,” he added.

Three civilians have also been killed in the unrest, according to security sources, two of them during the storming of a police post by the gunmen on Saturday and a third killed by sniper fire on Sunday in Arsal.

The violence is the worst in the area since the outbreak of the Syrian conflict in 2011.

Arsal is majority Sunni Muslim and broadly sympathetic to the Sunni-dominated uprising next door against Syria's Bashar Assad.

The town is hosting tens of thousands of refugees, and Qahwaji said Sunday that some of the gunmen had emerged from the informal refugee camps in the area.

More than one million Syrian refugees have fled to Lebanon, creating strains on local resources and tensions with the Lebanese population in some areas.

Comments 28
Thumb cityboy 04 August 2014, 12:01

No words can describe these cockroaches and their backers, especially the ones in Lebanon. Take no prisoners, kill ever one of them. God Bless our brave soldiers.

Thumb _mowaten_ 04 August 2014, 12:16

1- nusra planted bombs in lebanon, killing scores of civilians

2- the army arrested a leader of nusra

3- nusra started making threats and attacked the army killing at least 10 soldiers

that has nothing to do with HA, and all to do with the Army, the country, and the foreign nus-rats attacking it.

Thumb _mowaten_ 04 August 2014, 13:06

you're the one living in wonderland, pretending that HA's defensive actions caused the attack.
takfiris kidnapped and killed lebanese people, shelled and massacred lebanese villages before HA decided to react. despite your wishful thinking, if we didnt have HA lebanon would have ended up like north iraq.

Thumb ex-fpm 04 August 2014, 13:16

mowaten, can you name just a couple of "lebanese villages" that were massacred... it will surely help.

Thumb EagleDawn 04 August 2014, 13:26

yes ex-fpm he can; Qusayr and Yabrud among many others.

Thumb _mowaten_ 04 August 2014, 14:32

sure ex-fpm, there is akrabieh, hammam, and many smaller villages around these.

and those who think it was only shia villages being targeted can read here about the 280 christians who were kidnapped in rableh (a village between qusayr and hermel)
to my knowledge these "kidnapped" were never seen again.

all that was in 2012, a year before the quseyr battle.

Thumb _mowaten_ 04 August 2014, 14:40

you can read more in the daily star, who collected may testimonies from people who fled attacks on the border villages.
(the dailystar belong to hariri, so think twice before you claim it is pro HA)

Thumb _mowaten_ 04 August 2014, 14:41

"Though a staunch supporter of Hezbollah, the man criticized what he dubbed as the party’s “cautious behavior” with regard to the unrest in Syria.

“Although attacks against us have become intolerable, the party still asks its supporters to exercise self-restraint and not be dragged into big fights,” said Jamal, whose home has been attacked by Syrian rebel forces."

Thumb _mowaten_ 04 August 2014, 15:15

at this point it is clear to everyone who is hiding behind his finger. no need to say more.

Thumb galaxy 04 August 2014, 16:21

mowaten, If Lebanese villages get attacked or massacred as you say, the LAF will defend them with honor just like they are doing in Arsal today. Question for you, are there also "lebanese villages massacred" in Iraq too or perhaps Yemen? What is your hizb doing in Iraq?

Missing Cyanide 04 August 2014, 20:55

Never argue with idiots man. They don't know any better

Missing forces 04 August 2014, 12:17

Flame agree with you 100%. May god protect the one true uniting element remaining amongst us and cut off the head of anyone trying to undermine them.

Thumb cedre 04 August 2014, 17:00

ft, how cares about what u think ?

Thumb _mowaten_ 04 August 2014, 12:17

9 minutes ago VDL (93.3): The army discovered the corpses of 50 gunmen in Arsal.

good job, keep em coming!

Thumb _mowaten_ 04 August 2014, 12:19

37 minutes ago PM Tammam Salam met with Saudi Ambassador Ali Awad Asiri.

saudis scrambling to pressure our government to let their baby nus-rats live.

Thumb cityboy 04 August 2014, 12:22

The noose is getting tighter around these rats, HA from the east and the LAF from the west. with 50 corpses found, something tells me that the LAF actually did some paying back. good job, take no prisoners.

Thumb ex-fpm 04 August 2014, 12:46

3 hours ago VDL (93.3): PM Salam held phone conversations with French and Saudi officials to speed up the military assistance to Lebanon.

easy on the propaganda, mowaten.

Thumb _mowaten_ 04 August 2014, 13:04

yea, that military assistance that we're never going to see. juicing that "effet d'annonce" to the last drop.

Thumb ice-man 04 August 2014, 16:31

hello @..wolf-- : Good day to you. Do you know if @leb_roar will be posting today? Are you feeling any better? Hope the pills are helping. I care...

Thumb cityboy 04 August 2014, 12:19

your post makes absolutely no sense. By the way, that is a very bold statement, HA is the cause of all lebanons problems, really now. Hek, if that were true, i would even be inclined to support getting rid of HA for the sake of the country. It would only make sense.

Thumb EagleDawn 04 August 2014, 12:37

nice to see you and mowaten post simultaneously;)

Thumb _mowaten_ 04 August 2014, 16:24


Thumb _mowaten_ 04 August 2014, 17:23

more fake accounts by the lifeless bunch. you really dont have anything else to do, do you?

Default-user-icon AbuLiban (Guest) 04 August 2014, 17:37

Just like your Sayed and GMA should be executed for high treason...

Default-user-icon Israeli Man (Guest) 04 August 2014, 17:55

The G-d of Israel at work. I suggest that HA join forces with Israel against radical Islam. What do a bunch of Shia have to do with the Balestinians? Same goes for Iran.

Missing Cloudhopper 04 August 2014, 18:22

Ya Mr. BJ, at least the zionis dropped leaflets and texted before they drop their bombs, look what ASSad is doing.

Missing ..karim.. 04 August 2014, 18:39

God bless the Lebanese Army and down with the FSA-Nusra-ISIL jihadist terrorists!

Missing Cyanide 04 August 2014, 20:59

Well said. Any one that finds excuses for these dogs should hang