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Relatives of Slain Lebanese Servicemen Push for Judicial Council Probe | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A Lebanese soldier sits on a tank at one of the frontline hills overlooking areas controlled by extremists at the edge of Arsal, on the Syrian border, in northeast Lebanon. (AP file photo)

Beirut- The families of Lebanese soldiers killed in clashes and attacks carried out by extremist groups in eastern Lebanon since 2012 have threatened to take escalatory measures.

The relatives of the servicemen, who have died mainly in the northeastern border towns of Arsal and Ras Baalbek, warned on Wednesday that they would escalate their measures against the government if it refused to refer their cases to the Judicial Council, Lebanon’s highest judicial authority.

Lawyers Youssef Rofayel and Boulos Hanna, representing the families of two servicemen, called on the Judicial Council to open up an investigation into the events between 2012 and 2017 that left scores of soldiers and policemen dead or injured on the Lebanese-Syrian border.

However, directing the Council to carry out its own investigation can’t be done without the government’s approval.

Also Wednesday, UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Sigrid Kaag visited for the second time in one week the border towns of Arsal and Labweh.

Kaag visited army positions in the outskirts of Arsal and met with Brigadier General Sami Hoayek and other representatives of the Lebanese army, her office said in a statement.

 The Special Coordinator commended the army in its efforts and enduring commitment to safeguard Lebanon’s security and stability. Recalling the Secretary-General’s statement on September 13, the diplomat stressed “Reinforcing Lebanese national institutions and its army is key issues and the best preventive measure we can have in relation to the risk of conflict.”

According to the statement, she said the UN would continue encouraging international support to the Lebanese army and security institutions, including through the International Support Group for Lebanon.
The Special Coordinator also met with the head of Arsal municipality Bassel Hujeiri to discuss the development needs of Arsal. Kaag praised the generosity of heart and spirit of the citizens of Arsal towards the Syrian refugees, the statement added.