BEIRUT: Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said in remarks published Friday he has been coordinating with Hezbollah to secure a passage into Lebanon for the residents of a border enclave that has become isolated due to the crisis in Syria.
"We are coordinating on all political and security levels and with Hezbollah to secure the passage of Lebanese residents who want to exit [Tfail],” Machnouk told pan Arab Ash-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper.
The Cabinet has tasked Machnouk and Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi with devising a plan to help residents in Tfail, which has been cut off from Lebanese territory due to the Syrian regime's advances in the Qalamoun region.
Lying on the porous border with Syria, Tfail is about 25 kilometers away from Baalbek and the few roads that connect it to Lebanon’s Bekaa have been closed off by the Syrian army as part of its offensive to root out rebels in the border region.
Some five thousand residents in the village have become completely isolated.
"The Lebanese state's main concern is protecting the residents of this village and keeping it at a distance from internal Syrian conflicts,” said Machnouk, an MP with the Future Movement.
Machnouk said he was working on a plan to create a road that would connect Tfail to Lebanon, saying the 23-kilometer street "is not that easy given that the area was planted with mines."
He also said that such a plan would take at least six months.