File - Prime Minister Saad Hariri speaks on Aug. 10, 2017 at the launch of the DiasporaID project at the Grand Serail. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO)
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Prime Minister Saad Hariri Tuesday defended former premier Tammam Salam, whose government has come under fire by Syria's allies for allegedly failing to grant the Lebanese Army a free hand to rescue more than 30 Lebanese servicemen taken hostage by Daesh (ISIS) and the Nusra Front militants during their brief takeover of the northeastern town of Arsal in August 2014 .Two days after the remains of eight soldiers were uncovered on Arsal's outskirts, in a location disclosed by Daesh militants as part of a Hezbollah-negotiated deal that ended Daesh's presence on Lebanon's northeastern border as well as Syria's mountainous western Qalamoun region, a number of Lebanese politicians allied with Syria also criticized the Salam government for not giving the Army the "political decision" to attack Daesh and the Nusra Front [now named Jabhat Fatah al-Sham] to rescue the kidnapped soldiers.Salam has so far kept silent on his critics.Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, the FPM leader, called on the Lebanese to join celebrations of the Army's victory against Daesh.
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