BEIRUT: Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi issued a statement Wednesday, condemning fabrications published on social media claiming Lebanese soldiers were abused and tortured at the hands of Syrian militants in Raqqa.
Social media platforms circulated a photo claiming to depict the bodies of Army soldiers killed in the Syrian region of Raqqa Tuesday.
Shortly after the release fo the photos allegations abounded claiming that the 13 bodies belonged to soldiers kidnapped by militants in Arsal.
It was announced Tuesday that the photo was a fabrication and the individuals were not members of the Lebanese Army.
Accordingly, Rifi called on the public prosecutor to follow-up and investigate those responsible for producing and disseminating the image. The justice minister added that the investigation would serve as a prelude to legal measures and hard penalties, as the “issue affects national security, and undermines the prestige of the military and security institutions during a stage that requires utmost awareness."
Military Judge Dany Zeenni also called for an investigation into the image on Tuesday.
Army Intelligence was tasked by the assistant of the government commissioner to the Military Tribunal to look into the matter.
A judicial source told The Daily Star that the investigation was prompted by officials' fears that the photo's supposed subject were actually Army soldiers captured by militants in Arsal.
Ceasefire efforts by the Committee of Muslim Scholars have resulted in the release of three of the 16 policemen and three soldiers abducted by the militants, while 19 soldiers from the Army are still missing.
The clashes between the Army and the armed groups in Arsal entered its fifth day Wednesday, resulting in the death of 16 soldiers, 12 civilians and more than 50 militants.