The Army takes strict measures, tensions in Akkar
An-Nahar has learned that authorities have been informed - either via military agencies or friendly states following the border clashes - that ISIS was moving toward the border with Lebanon using a crossing that links Iraq to northern Syria all the way to Lebanon. The Syrian regime, which is capable of obstructing the group’s movement, is not taking any steps to prevent such an influx. In response to the claims, the Army has taken precautionary measures along the Arsal region with the support of the newly arrived U.S. equipment. The equipment that arrived Friday has boosted the Army's readiness to face such developments. The fact that ISIS is moving does not mean that the situation is about to explode but that the elements are there awaiting a political decision by ISIS and those who back the group.
Regarding the captured soldiers and police officers, mediators from Qatar and Turkey are indirectly involved in release efforts. The government has launched its contacts but in complete secrecy, in line with Prime Minister Tammam Salam’s instruction.
Abdollahian to secretly visit Damascus after Riyadh
Sources close to As-Safir said that in light of the recent Saudi-Iranian talks, the Saudi authorities have issued entry visas for five Syrian diplomats to come to the Syrians consulate in Jeddah in an unprecedented move.
The sources also said that the danger of ISIS had changed everything, speaking of a recent contact between U.S. intelligence and the Syrian regime in which the U.S. asked permission for a German security team to enter Damascus and reside there for a couple of days. Syrian authorities swiftly agreed but on condition that the team remained in the hotel.
Arab diplomatic sources told As-Safir that Staffan de Mistura, the new U.N. envoy to Syria, launched contacts with the Syrian government, which approved his mission and scheduled Sept.9 as his arrival date to Damascus.
Ali Sayyed ... a wound the size of a nation
The father of Ali Sayyed told LBCI that the Committee of Muslim Scholars had informed him that the picture of his beheaded son was true while security sources told Al-Mustaqbal that there is information indicating that the soldier was martyred at the hands of ISIS militants. But the official confirmation has yet to come from the military institution.
Sayyed was among the soldiers stationed in Wadi Hosn in Arsal, which was taken over by armed terrorist groups at the start of their attack on the town earlier this month. He also appeared in a video ISIS released of capture soldiers.
As news of his death surfaced, his relatives demanded that his body be swiftly repatriated while a group of young men blocked roads in Akkar in solidarity with the Army and demanding a quick solution to the case of the captured soldiers.
ISIS threatening to kill hostages ... Berri concerned of strife
Ministerial sources said that Prime Minister Tammam Salam was taking initiatives in the case of the kidnapped soldiers with countries such as Turkey and Qatar. The sources doubted that the group could have beheaded the soldier, saying that the leaked picture could be fake.
The sources said that Lebanon holds a bargaining chip to pressure the kidnappers and these are issues related to Syrian refugees in Lebanon, among them the families of those militants.
A source close to Salam said no party can pressure Lebanon because we still haven't played all our cards and that the government would never allow the release of Islamists from Roumieh Prison, a demand by the militants. Such a move would pave the way in front of everyone who wanted one of their relatives to be released to merely kidnap a soldier.