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Lebanon News

Sleiman warns against involvement in Syria crisis

President Michel Sleiman speaks during a ceremony in Beirut, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: President Michel Sleiman warned Friday of the consequences of Lebanese involvement in the war across the border after deadly rocket attacks from Syria struck Lebanese areas earlier in the day.

“Sleiman warned of the far-reaching consequences of involvement in the Syria crisis that now represents a high price that the Lebanese are paying at the levels of coexistence, property and livelihoods,” according to a statement from Baabda Palace.

“He urged military and security officials to take all necessary measures to protect Lebanese border villages and towns with Syria which were hit today [Friday] by rockets that led to fatalities and wounded,” the statement added.

A rocket attack from Syria on the northeastern Lebanese town of Arsal killed six people, including two children, a Lebanese security source told The Daily Star.

The source said the rocket attack was most likely the result of violent clashes in Lebanon’s neighbor.

The rocket attack was one of several to target Lebanese border areas, another security source told The Daily Star. They struck areas including Hermel and Al-Qasr.

Sleiman said the protection of Lebanese regions and their populations were a priority “in terms of any attack, regardless of where they are from.”

The president has in the past indirectly criticized Hezbollah over the party’s military involvement in Syria and stressed the need for Lebanon to remain neutral from developments in its neighbor.

Hezbollah accuses its March 14 coalition rivals of intervening in Syria. The March 14 alliance denies the allegations, stressing that its support to the uprising in Syria is solely on a moral and humanitarian basis.

In 2012, rival political leaders endorsed a pact known as the Baabda Declaration that calls for distancing Lebanon from regional crisis, particularly in Syria.

 

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