Aoun Links Sidon Clashes to Uncontrolled Flow of Syrian Refugees into Lebanon
June 24, 2013
Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun condemned on Monday the clashes in the southern city of Sidon, linking the unrest to the “uncontrolled” flow of Syrian refugees into Lebanon.
He said during a press conference: “We had repeatedly stressed the need to pay attention to the flow of refugees in order to prevent their transformation into rebels who may combat the army.”
“The government is not controlling the situation and we have repeatedly warned of this development, but no security measure was taken to monitor the flow of refugees,” added the MP.
Asked who is responsible for the unrest, he responded: “Some sides responsible for the country's security have neglected their duties towards the army, their nation, and citizens.”
“Those responsible for the security must assume their duties. Who allowed armed groups to gain power?” he wondered.
Moreover, Aoun praised the army for its crackdown on the unrest in Sidon, hoping that its efforts will mark the beginning of “the liberation of Lebanon of criminal gunmen.”
Clashes broke out on Sunday between the army and supporters of Salafist cleric Sheikh Ahmed al-Asir in the southern city of Sidon.
The military command said the number of troops killed in the fighting rose to 12. There were also more than 50 injuries among the ranks of the soldiers, but it was not clear how many fighters were killed in the unrest.
The clashes erupted when al-Asir's supporters surrounded an army checkpoint in the area, where a vehicle transporting other supporters of the cleric had been stopped.
After the armed men attacked the troops with gunfire, the army fired back.