BEIRUT: British Ambassador to Lebanon Tom Fletcher said Thursday that his country would provide the Lebanese Army with additional protection equipment to reinforce military positions in the border town of Arsal, as quickly as possible, after meeting with Army commander Gen. Jean Kahwagi.
"I informed the Army commander that the U.K. will work quickly to provide the Lebanese Army with additional ballistic protection for their infrastructure around Arsal,” Fletcher said after the meeting at the Defense Ministry.
He said the meeting was an occasion to express condolences at recent loss of life of Lebanese soldiers and civilians in Arsal and to convey the additional package of U.K. assistance for the Army.
“I reaffirmed to Gen. Kahwagi the UK’s commitment to Lebanon’s sovereignty and stability and of our continued support to the Lebanese Armed Forces,” Fletcher said.
He said he discussed with the Army commander “how this (additional aid) will meet the Army’s urgent requirements to reinforce military ability to protect civilians and soldiers in and around Arsal, on Lebanon’s eastern border with Syria.
The Sunni town, which has been largely supportive of the 3-year rebellion against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, was the scene of fierce clashes between the Army and takfiri militants from Syria, in which at least 19 troops were killed, earlier this month.