BEIRUT: President Michel Sleiman described Saturday a series of attacks against Lebanese border villages as an attempt to draw Lebanon into the Syrian crisis, urging Syrians to refrain from targeting the country “under any pretext.”
“The rocket attack on the border town of Brital and the air raids on Arsal are additional ways to entice Lebanon and the Lebanese to get involved [in the Syrian crisis],” Sleiman said, according to his office.
The president also said “it was not permissible or acceptable for innocent Lebanese in various areas to pay the price with their lives and properties.”
He also called on rival factions in Syria to refrain from targeting Lebanon under any pretext, and asked the Lebanese not to get involved in the crisis “based on the Baabda Declaration and disassociating Lebanon from the conflicts of others.”
Friday's rocket attack from Syria hit several buildings in Brital while Syrian air strikes killed a child and a teenager on the outskirts in the northeastern town of Arsal near a refugee center.
Brital is associated with Hezbollah while Arsal residents have welcomed thousands of Syrian refugees and are known to be staunch supporters of the opposition.
The Brital attack was claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, which declared the target was a “Hezbollah’s stronghold.”
Sleiman also expressed hope that the Cabinet’s policy statement would soon be drafted so that the government could fulfill its duties towards the public and secure needed aid for the Lebanese Army from the international community.
Ministers have so far failed to draft the ministerial statement which the Cabinet needs before it can be voted on in Parliament.
The president also met with the Secretary General of the Lebanese-Syrian High council, Nasri Khoury, who briefed him on the work of the council and events in Syria.