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Geagea: Hezbollah role in Syria puts Lebanon at risk

LF leader Samir Geagea speaks during a press conference in Maarab, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. (The Daily Star/Aldo Ayoub, HO)

BEIRUT: Military involvement in Syria by Hezbollah endangers Lebanon, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea warned in remarks published Monday, adding that Beirut needs to stamp out military interference by any local group in Lebanon’s neighbor.

“Where is Hezbollah’s commitment to the ‘Baabda Declaration?’” asked Geagea, referring to a 2012 agreement among rival Lebanese political leaders to neutralize the country from developments in the region, particularly in Syria.

“If things remain as they are, we will be facing dire consequences and Lebanese citizens will pay the price once again,” Geagea, who spoke to An-Nahar newspaper, added.

Reports emerged earlier this month suggesting Hezbollah was active at the military level in Syria.

Security sources told The Daily Star that three members of Hezbollah and 12 Syrian fighters were killed earlier in the month during battles in the Syrian town of Al-Qusair, northeast of Lebanon.

Although denying any participation in the fighting in Syria, Hezbollah has said that in a number of Syrian border villages with mainly Lebanese Shiite Lebanese, residents have been forced to defend themselves against rebel attacks but not upon the request of the resistance group.

Geagea urged the government, which is dominated by the Hezbollah-led March 8 alliance, to act against any military interference by a local group in Syria, regardless of the Lebanese side.

“The Lebanese Cabinet should take all necessary measures to end any military interference in the Syrian violence, whether by Hezbollah or any other side, if involvement by any other side [in the Syria crisis] is proven,” he added.

Lebanon’s rival March 8 and March 14 coalitions are divided over the unrest in Syria, with the former backing Syrian President Bashar Assad and the latter opposing the embattled leader.

Deadly incidents on the Lebanese-Syrian border renewed over the weekend, claiming the lives of a number of Lebanese in the north of the country.

The Syrian shelling on Lebanese border areas, notably the region of Wadi Khaled, has evoked renewed calls by the opposition for the deployment of the Lebanese Army and U.N. peacekeepers along the border with Syria.

 

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