BEIRUT: President Michel Sleiman urged Syria Sunday to refrain from firing shells into Lebanon, in the wake of recent shelling from across the border that claimed the lives of Lebanese citizens.
"[Sleiman] stressed the need to remain committed to the neutral stance [of Lebanon] and not to interfere in other countries' affairs, particularly Syria, and he urged the Syrian side to refrain from shooting or firing missiles in the direction of Lebanese territory,” his office said in a statement.
Heavy shelling and gunfire from the Syrian side of the border with Lebanon over the weekend claimed the lives of a number of Lebanese in the north of the country.
Prime Minister Najib Mikati, for his part, requested that “Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour officially inform Syrian authorities of Lebanon’s rejection to such incidents and its demand that they do not recur,” Mikati’s office said in a statement.
The statement also said Mikati had “condemned the attack on Lebanese border villages, particularly Wadi Khaled, with missiles which were the result of confrontations in Syrian areas adjacent to the borders [with Lebanon].”
“We deplore the deaths of Lebanese who have no fault in these events and we call on Syrian authorities to take the appropriate measures to prevent such events recurring,” Mikati said.
Residents of the northern region described the weekend shelling as unprecedented, selective, and unjustified as there had been no gunmen or reason to provoke such a response from across the border.
According to his office, Suleiman made a series of contacts with concerned officials and asked them to launch a probe in the circumstances surrounding the recent events in the north.
Since the uprising in Syria began in March of 2011, Lebanese border villages have witnessed shelling from the Syrian side of the border that has led to fatalities and material damage.