Kahwagi addresses troops in Army barracks in Labweh, Wednesday, August 13, 2014. (The Daily Star/ Lebanese Army, HO)
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Lebanese Army Commander Gen. Jean Kahwagi has defended himself and his troops against criticism directed at the military institution following the Arsal battle, saying he would never trade the lives of Lebanese in exchange for political gains.On Aug. 2 following the Army's arrest of Imad Jomaa, the head of an ISIS brigade, militants from Syria attacked several Army and police posts in Arsal and engaged in five days of clashes with the military that ended with a cease-fire.Kahwagi hit back at the military's critics who scorned the Army for taking too long to end the battle, saying he spared the lives of Arsal residents and Syrian refugees by refraining from striking Arsal. We told those who came to us [to resolve the case] that we would not release Jomaa".He said militants were able to take over the strategic hill of Al-Hosn after a fierce battle with the unit stationed there that wounded a soldier, adding that the military launched several counter attacks and succeeded in regaining control over many posts.
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