BEIRUT: Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced Monday that Lebanon would declare a day of mourning in commemoration of the Army soldiers killed by Daesh.
“The Lebanese Cabinet, after consulting President Michel Aoun, will announce a day of national mourning once the DNA tests on the eight bodies are confirmed,” Hariri said in a statement.
The remains of eight people were uncovered in the outskirts of Arsal, in a location disclosed by Daesh militants who had given themselves up, instigating a pause in the Army’s offensive.
The bodies are believed to be those of Army servicemen who were taken hostage by Daesh when the militant group overran Arsal in 2014.
An Army statement Sunday announced that the remains had been uncovered. General Security head Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim – who was tasked with finding out the missing soldiers’ fate – said that the remains were almost certainly those of the captured soldiers.
The remains were transported to the Military Hospital in Badaro, where they were to undergo DNA testing to confirm the identities of the corpses and their time of death.
Hezbollah’s War Media Center reported Sunday that the transfer of Daesh militants from Syria’s western Qalamoun to Deir al-Zor had begun.
A bus convoy will transport the militants, their families and civilians out of Lebanon, as part of a deal implemented after militants disclosed the fate of the captive Lebanese soldiers and the locations of Hezbollah fighters’ remains.
The Army launched its offensive, dubbed ‘Fajr al-Joroud’, against Daesh positions on the outskirts of the border towns of Al-Qaa and Ras Baalbeck earlier this month. Six soldiers and dozens of militants have so far died in the fighting.
Separately on Sunday, Hezbollah received the bodies of four fallen fighters who died in Syria.