(The Daily Star /Mohammad Azakir)
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The Al-Qaeda splinter group the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) may not be operating out of Lebanon at present but porous borders do pose a security risk, Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said Wednesday.Machnouk declined to name the areas, saying only that there were two, one in south Lebanon and the other in "Great Beirut," which includes the city and its suburbs.Machnouk dismissed the possibility of ISIS' advances in Iraq emboldening Lebanon's extremist Sunni pockets to resort to armed action.Apart from security concerns, developments in Iraq will also impact on the bilateral relations that Machnouk is carefully cultivating with the Gulf countries.Machnouk is also keen to usher in prison reforms by imploring donor countries to build four new prisons, citing deplorable living conditions."We [the Cabinet] will discuss the matter and see what we can do".The contentious issue of setting up formal camps for Syrian refugees in no man's land, the government's first choice, also came to an impasse after the Syrian regime made it clear that they would not be responsible for maintaining security in the region, said the minister, citing communication via security channels two months ago.
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