Following are summaries of some of the main stories in a selection of Lebanese newspapers Saturday. The Daily Star cannot vouch for the accuracy of these reports.
Geagea stresses that loss of the Koura [election] battle will affect more than the SSNP
Hariri the sole to denounce the Tremseh and government decision to halt treatment of refugees
The event will take place in Koura. The by-elections between the Lebanese Forces and March 14 alliance candidate Fadi Karam and the Syrian Nationalist Social Party and the March 8 coalition’s candidate Walid Azar is a political battle that will be central in terms of its results, according to LF head Samir Geagea.
Meanwhile, the secretary-general of the Future Movement, Ahmad Hariri, said the [electoral] battle would not end Sunday “for the battle for freedom does not stop as long as there are some in Lebanon who want all the country to resemble he who commands him at [Syrian Presidential Palace] and as long as there are in Lebanon those who feel proud to follow a baby killer in Aleppo and Deraa and Deir al-Zour.”
[Former] Prime Minister Saad Hariri condemned the “new brutal massacre committed by the Syrian regime [Thursday] in Tremseh, Hama, setting a new record in terms of crimes against humanity and unarmed civilians of the Syrian people.”
American, French interest in stability .... and “investment in gas”
The practical implementation of Lebanon’s “dissociation policy” from the crisis in Syria was taken, and this after 16 months since the crisis erupted in Syria 18 months ago, with the announcement by the Lebanese Army of its plan of “bolstering its presence in the north, beginning with Tripoli and its neighborhoods, up to the northern and eastern borders,” as well as “firm directives to protect citizens from any attack, to crack down on the carrying of arms, and to prevent infiltration and smuggling ... and a swift response to fire from wherever it may originate.”
And while the steps taken by the Army may have been welcomed by Syria, the stances by Deputy U.S. Secretary William Burns in Beirut as well as the stances by French President Francois Hollande in front of his Lebanese counterpart President Michel Sleiman [in Paris] did not reflect any interest in Lebanon’s stability per se but rather with economic investments in several sectors, primarily the oil and gas and services sector.
[Army] units from south to be used in north [Lebanon] deployment
Amid an extremely cautious situation following repeated shelling from Syria on border villages in Akkar, the army gave units belonging to the 2nd brigade in the Lebanese Army the OK to take positions along the northern border as part of the deployment plan by Army Command as per a Cabinet decision.
The Army Command announced that the operation would continue in the coming days and that “army units tasked with implementing the mission have received firm and detailed directives to protect citizens from any attack, to crack down on the carrying of arms, and to prevent infiltration and smuggling on the Syria-Lebanon border, including an immediate response to fire from wherever it may originate.”
Military sources told An-Nahar that the operation to bolster Army units positioned in the north as well as along the eastern border in the Bekaa commence after a survey of the region and its needs.
The sources said army units in the south could be used as part of the operation, particularly those stations north of the Litani River, in the first phase.
If the need arises, they added, units south of the Litani River could be recruited after an agreement with the command of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, “which undoubtedly understands the army’s situation and the reality it faces in more than one place.”