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MONDAY, 21 APR 2014
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Lebanon MP suggests self-defense force against Syria shelling
FILE - Syrian soldiers man their post in the Syrian side near the Lebanese Syrian border, as seen from Lebanon's northern border town of Abboudiyyeh, in Akkar province, June 1, 2012. (REUTERS/Stringer)
FILE - Syrian soldiers man their post in the Syrian side near the Lebanese Syrian border, as seen from Lebanon's northern border town of Abboudiyyeh, in Akkar province, June 1, 2012. (REUTERS/Stringer)
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BEIRUT: Future Movement MP Mouin Merhebi suggested Saturday that residents of the northern region of Akkar establish an armed force to defend themselves against repeated Syrian shelling of their villages, saying that the government is shirking its responsibility to protect them.

“Why don't we, as residents of Akkar, form a self-defense force, given that the government as well as officials and leaders abandoned their duty to us?” Merhebi said in a statement.

“We have only God and ourselves to rely on. All those who abandoned their duty should bear the consequences of such a [self-defense] force,” he added.

Merhebi, a parliamentarian representing Akkar, has repeatedly criticized the government for what he has described as it “negligence” toward the Akkar region bordering Syria.

Syrian shelling of Akkar villages has intensified in the past months as a result of the uprising against President Bashar Assad. The shelling has at times resulted in material damage and loss of Lebanese civilian lives.

“Isn't it imperative to keep the army in places that have become points of tension, or does Akkar not deserve protection?” he asked.

Merhebi has also said that the Army has done nothing to stop the displacement of Akkar residents, some of whom have fled their homes because of border clashes that have spilled into Lebanon.

Last month, Merhebi claimed that “the Army does not have orders to respond to the sources” of “daily Syrian shelling,” adding that “the government is simply watching its people being slaughtered every day.”

The Army has denied his allegations.

In his statement Saturday, Merhebi said “Akkar residents today feel that they are targeted by the most dangerous of threats and attempts to incite strife, despite repeatedly demanding their rights, the least of which is being protected by the army.”

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