The following are a selection of stories from Lebanese newspapers that may be of interest to The Daily Star readers. The Daily Star cannot vouch for the accuracy of these reports.
Lebanon exposed to Syrian terrorism
The most alarming spillover of the Syrian crisis in more than three years since its outbreak, claimed 10 Army martyrs and injured 35, in addition to having 14 troops taken hostage by the terrorists. The three ministers representing the Phalange Party will propose to the emergency cabinet meeting convening Monday that Lebanon asks the UN to extend the scope of UN Resolution 1701 to its eastern border with Syria. Resolution 1701 which ended the 2006 war between Lebanon and Israel stipulated for the deployment of the Army along the southern border, backed by the UN peacekeeping force, UNIFIL.
Indirect negotiations through Arsal resident
Indirect negotiations are taking place between the Lebanese authorities, namely Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk and Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi, and Syrian rebels, through the intermediary of a resident of Arsal.
Rifi was quoted by al Mostqbal as saying that initial agreement was reached on several points including: An immediate cease-fire; secure the evacuation of the injured to hospitals; withdrawal of Syrian rebels to Arsal’s outskirts in a first phase, as a prelude to their complete retreat to Syrian territory, release of army troops and internal security forces held by the rebels, ensure fair trial for Imad Jomaa.
Military choices awaiting political cover
The Lebanese army is facing difficult choices over Arsal. A military solution will be of very high cost since Arsal is home for tens of thousands of people in addition to a large number of Syrian refugees. At the same time, the state’s prestige and the army’s image is at stake and firm action is required to stamp out the gunmen. Military options are available and being considered, but political coverage by all Lebanese parties, especially the Sunni represented by Future Movement, is a pre-requisite.