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Sleiman calls on Arsal residents to stay impartial
Arsal children are treated to a ride on an Army vehicle.
Arsal children are treated to a ride on an Army vehicle.
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BEIRUT: President Michel Sleiman called Saturday on the residents of the Bekaa border town of Arsal to distance themselves from the Syrian crisis.

“Arsal [residents] should not take part in any of the problems surrounding them, especially the Syrian [crisis],” Sleiman said following a meeting with a delegation from Arsal, according to a statement from the president’s media office.

Shelling from the Syrian side of the Arsal border has killed at least three Lebanese farmers since the uprising against President Bashar Assad began.

The predominantly Sunni village was also the site of repeated incursions by the Syrian army and rebels.

Sleiman also said that a clear investigation into the ambush that targeted the Army in Arsal and led to the killing of two soldiers requires handing over the wanted individuals in the incident.

“The wanted suspects should be handed over to the relevant authorities to hear what they have to say in order to achieve a clear and fair investigation,” Sleiman said.

He also urged the residents of the town to “cooperate with the state and its [security and judicial] agencies.”

The Arsal delegation said their town abides by the law, voicing respect for the Army.

Over thirty people were charged of being involved in the ambush that killed Captain Pierre Bashaalani, 31, and Sergeant Ibrahim Zahraman, 32, in what seemed a retaliation for the pursue of a wanted suspect, Khaled Hmayyed.

This incident prompted different reactions and condemnation from Lebanese officials and citizens.

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