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Lebanon Follows up Closely on Recent Syrian-Israeli Tensions

Lebanon Follows up Closely on Recent Syrian-Israeli Tensions

Sunday, 11 February, 2018 - 10:30
Lebanese Army soldiers ride on their military vehicles in Ras Baalbek, Lebanon August 28, 2017. REUTERS/Hassan Abdallah

Lebanon's President Michel Aoun is leading consultations with the country's security and political officials to study the repercussions of the recent tensions between Syria and Israel, which have emerged when a Syrian anti-aircraft missile downed an Israeli warplane on Saturday.

The Lebanese Foreign Affairs Ministry condemned in a statement on Saturday the Israeli air strikes on Syria, asserting the country's right to defend itself against any Israeli attacks.

"The Foreign Affairs Minister instructed Lebanon's Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York to file a complaint with the Security Council against Israel, condemning and warning against its use of Lebanese airspace to launch attacks on Syria," the statement said.

"Such an aggressive policy adopted by Israel threatens stability in the region," it added, calling on the concerned countries to exert efforts to end the Israel's practices and stop its attacks.

The National News Agency (NNA) reported that remnants of missiles from the Israeli raid on Syria fell in the town of Saarin, while shrapnel fell in the town of Ali al-Nahri in the Bekaa (eastern Lebanon). A SAM anti-aircraft missile landed in the Hasbani Valley, south of Lebanon, which was fired at Israeli aircraft from the Syrian territories, according to the NNA.

Aoun discussed the recent developments in Syria following the Israeli strikes early Saturday with Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who is currently outside the country. He also received reports on the situation from Defense Minister Yaacoub Sarraf and Army Commander General Joseph Aoun.

Well-informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Lebanese government has not put forward any plan for action, awaiting the return of Hariri to Beirut.

The head of the Democratic Gathering parliamentary bloc, MP Walid Jumblatt, tweeted on Saturday: "It seems that there are major disturbances lurking in the horizon... It will not be useful to think of separating tracks since the Israelis have already linked them."

Jumblatt called on "decision-makers in Lebanon" to stay away from "huge and costly projects."

"The best thing is to apply reform and austerity while awaiting the storms. History repeats itself," he added.

The Lebanese Army said in a statement on Saturday that four Israeli warplanes violated the Lebanese airspace over the sea west of Tyre, reaching the village of Kfarshouba at around 8:45 am on Saturday.

Four other Israeli warplanes later breached the national airspace, flying over the Lebanese territories, the LAF statement added.

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