Lebanon ‘Won’t Wait for Political Solution’ in Syria to Resolve Refugee Crisis

Lebanese President Michel Aoun heads the cabinet session at Baabda Palace. Dalati and Nohra photo
Lebanese President Michel Aoun heads the cabinet session at Baabda Palace. Dalati and Nohra photo
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Lebanon ‘Won’t Wait for Political Solution’ in Syria to Resolve Refugee Crisis

Lebanese President Michel Aoun heads the cabinet session at Baabda Palace. Dalati and Nohra photo
Lebanese President Michel Aoun heads the cabinet session at Baabda Palace. Dalati and Nohra photo

Lebanese President Michel Aoun has said that the country would not wait for a political solution in Syria to resolve the problem of displaced Syrians, stressing that Lebanon should defend the nation’s interest.

“It is essential that Lebanon’s position on the refugee issue be unified, especially with regard to realizing that the consequences of this issue will fall on Lebanon and they entail many security, political and socio-economic risks,” Aoun said during a cabinet session he chaired at Baabda Palace on Friday.

According to a statement read by Information Minister Melhem Riachi, Aoun said. “We will not wait for a political solution or a security solution for the Syrian crisis. We are duty-bound to defend the interests of our nation."

The president met this week with representatives of the European Union, the Arab League and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council in Beirut. He told the international envoys he wanted to find ways for the refugees to return safely.

During Friday's session, the cabinet appointed boards of directors for six state hospitals.

In his briefing, Riachi said that Prime Minister Saad Hariri also spoke about the refugee crisis.

The issue of refugees “is causing socio-economic, political and security consequences on the Lebanese situation,” Hariri said. “But we should deal with this burden in a way that we preserve Lebanon’s interests.”

He added that a ministerial committee tasked with pursuing the refugee crisis would meet next week to examine a working paper prepared by the interior and foreign ministries before presenting it to the government.

During the session, both Aoun and Hariri lauded parliament’s adoption of the 2017 state budget. The president also called for a swift approval of the draft 2018 budget.



Israeli Military Says it has Struck Houthi Targets in Yemen

A huge column of fire erupts following reported strikes in Hodeidah on July 20, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
A huge column of fire erupts following reported strikes in Hodeidah on July 20, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
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Israeli Military Says it has Struck Houthi Targets in Yemen

A huge column of fire erupts following reported strikes in Hodeidah on July 20, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
A huge column of fire erupts following reported strikes in Hodeidah on July 20, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

The Israeli army said Saturday it has struck several Houthi targets in western Yemen following a fatal drone attack by the militias in Tel Aviv the previous day.

A number of “military targets” were hit in the western port city of Hodeidah, the Israeli army said, adding that its attack was in response to “hundreds of attacks” against Israel in recent months.

“The Houthis attacked us over 200 times. The first time that they harmed an Israeli citizen, we struck them. And we will do this in any place where it may be required,” Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said in a statement.
Israel’s military said it alone carried out the strikes and “our friends were updated.” An Israeli Defense Forces official didn't say how many sites were targeted, but told journalists that the port is the main entry point for Iranian weapons. The official didn't say whether it was Israel’s first attack on Yemen.

Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam posted on X that the “blatant Israeli aggression” targeted fuel storage facilities and the province’s power station. He said the attacks aim “to increase the suffering of the people and to pressure Yemen to stop supporting Gaza.”

Abdulsalam said the attacks will only make Yemen's people and armed forces more determined to support Gaza. “There will be impactful strikes,” Mohamed Ali al-Houthi of the Supreme Political Council in Yemen wrote on X.

A media outlet controlled by the Houthis in Yemen, Al-Masirah TV, said the strikes on storage facilities for oil and diesel at the port and on the local electricity company caused deaths and injuries, and several people had severe burns. It said there was a large fire at the port and power cuts were widespread.

The drone attack by the Houthis killed one person in the center of Tel Aviv and wounded at least 10 others early Friday.