The Lebanese authorities reopened on Thursday the last closed border crossing with Syria, in parallel with the presence, on the Syrian side, of the Syrian Regime Interior Minister, Mohammad al-Shaar, who stressed that there were “no obstacles for anyone wishing to return to Syria,” despite the presence of more than a million Syrians displaced within Lebanese territories.
The Syrian minister declared that Lebanese-Syrian relations “are above any statements”, adding that anything that “serves the natural relations between the two countries can be achieved.”
However, the director of Lebanon’s General Security, Major General Abbas Ibrahim, noted that cooperation with the Syrian side was in line with the existing procedures and laws.
Ibrahim said hours before the opening of the crossing that the new measure had nothing to do with the policy of dissociation, noting: “Distancing the country was political issue, while security coordination has not stopped between the two countries.”
“Security coordination with Syria did not stop throughout the Syrian crisis, and had positive benefits at all stages,” he said.
“The goal of reopening the border crossing in Al-Qaa is to reconnect the area of Baalbek-Hermel with Homs”, hoping that such step would be considered as a “contribution to the process of economic developments.”
Ibrahim also promised to “work for the reopening of a border crossing in the border area of Al-Qasr, as the residents of 15 villages, the majority of whom are Lebanese, live in the villages of the Syrian Al-Qasr countryside.”
Member of Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc MP Nawar al-Saheli said the reopening of the border crossing was the first step for the return of the displaced people to Syria.
He added that the meeting with Syrian officials was normal and would yield positively on Lebanon.
“The relationship with the Syrian brothers is more than normal, and today we have defeated terrorism,” he said.
The opening of the crossing did not raise any objections from other political parties, which are opposed to coordination with the Syrian regime.
In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, Minister of State for the Displaced Moeen al-Merehbi described the measure as a “useful step”.
“We want all displaced people to return to their country, in order to preserve the Arab identity of Syria, to prevent the Iranian regime from controlling the Arab and Syrian territories, and to stop the demographic change in the country,” Merehbi, one of the representatives of the Future Bloc in the Lebanese government, said.