Ex-Lebanese PM Al-Hariri condemns Syrian coalition's on army's violation

Ahram Online , Sunday 28 Sep 2014

Raid on Syrian refugee camp by Lebanese army drew angry statement from Syrian National Coalition

Former Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri speaking in The Hague January 16, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

Former Lebanese prime minister Saad Al-Hariri on Sunday denounced a statement from the Syrian National Coalition of Revolution and Opposition Forces which criticised the Lebanese army's measures towards refugees last week, Al-Hayat news website reported.

The coalition issued a statement on 25 September condemning the Lebanese army after it attacked Syrian refugee camps in the border town of Arsal on Thursday and arrested 200 persons, claiming that a number of wanted persons were holed up inside the camps.

However, Al-Hariri assured in a statement of his own that the coalition's comments don't "express the criteria of the relation between the Lebanese and the Syrians who fled from Bashar Assad's aggression against Lebanon."

He also accused the statement of attacking Lebanon's army.

The coalition statement, published on its official website, said that Lebanon's army set fires in the camps' quarters, leading to the death of one child and many cases of near suffocation among the refugees.

The coalition demanded the Lebanese government to stop violations against Syrian refugees and called for the immediate release of the arrested Syrians, in addition to launching an investigation over the alleged offences and taking legal action.

But Al-Hariri said that the army is under the threat of militants, who consider the camps as a way to press their demands on the Lebanese government and army.

Last month, fighting broke out between the Lebanese army and two anti-Assad militant groups in Arsal, with 17 Lebanese soldiers killed and between 22 and 30 Lebanese soldiers kidnapped, according to varying reports – three of them who have since been freed.

Meanwhile, Al-Hariri said that Lebanon's "stance toward the Syrian people's rights and their sacrifices facing a regime of oppression and domination…cannot be compromised or alternated."

He further called on the world to help Lebanon provide for its Syrian refugee communities and also protect itself from terrorism and chaos.

There are over 1.2 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, according to the latest UN estimates.

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