BEIRUT: Syria is willing to help Lebanon in its fight against Islamist militants, Syrian Ambassador Ali Abdul-Karim Ali said in remarks published Thursday.
"Lebanon cannot deal with terrorism alone,” Ali told the local daily Al-Akhbar, in reference to the deadly gunbattles between the Lebanese Army and jihadists affiliated with ISIS and Nusra Front in the Bekaa Valley border town of Arsal earlier this month.
Ali said that even prior to the Arsal gunbattles earlier this month, he had conveyed the Syrian government’s willingness to support Lebanon at the military and security levels.
“But all these calls only yielded the minimum [required] security and political cooperation,” Ali complained.
He stressed that in the wake of the growing threats from Islamist militants, the “Lebanese and Syrian governments must hold a direct meeting to create a road map [to confront] the common crises.”
The Lebanese Army fought five days of deadly gunbattles with jihadists in the northeastern town of Arsal earlier in August.
“We will respond if the Lebanese Army asked us for help on the outskirts of Arsal,” Ali promised.