Arsal amps up security at the Lebanese-Syrian border

Published August 23rd, 2016 - 09:00 GMT
Lebanese forces in Arsal. (AFP/File)
Lebanese forces in Arsal. (AFP/File)

The mayor of a northeastern town in Lebanon Tuesday expressed grave concern over the security situation in the border area, vowing a steadfast battle against attackers.

Basil Hujeiri, Arsal's municipal chief, described the situation in remarks to Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai in the town as "alarming."

"It's obvious that there are some people who are not pleased with our path," Hujeiri said, saying that threats and the planting of explosive devices are a "means to press him to change his stances."

"We will only walk in one direction that makes Arsal a national town. So instead of accusing it of harboring terror it will be harboring the Lebanese Army and the state," he added.

Hujeiri's remarks come two days after the military dismantled an explosive device found 100 meters from his residence in the northeastern border town, comprised of 200 grams of C4 and about 2 kilograms of ammonium nitrate, according to the Army.

He was elected mayor in the municipal elections in May.

The mayor said that the town was keen to have "acceptable ties with Syrian brothers and the Shiite surroundings."

Hujeiri said that threats wouldn't make Arsal yield. "The forces of darkness are seeking to spread chaos and destabilize security."

In separate remarks to local newspaper Al-Akhbar, Hujeiri said that there was "no accurate information on those planting the explosive devices and targeting Arsal residents with grenades."

He called the culprits "the Lebanese-Syrian assailants," stressing that the town will not "tolerate them."

The mayor has received a number of death threats from militant groups entrenched along Arsal’s outskirts near the Syrian border.

Hundreds of militants are believed to be holed up on Arsal's outskirts, which come under regular bombardment by Lebanese soldiers and Hezbollah.

Last week a roadside bomb in the region lightly wounded five soldiers riding in a military vehicle. The army rounded up dozens of Syrian suspects in the wake of that attack, most of whom were later released.

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