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Investigation Into ISIS’ Abduction of Lebanese Soldiers | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A relative of Lebanese soldiers, who were captured by ISIS reacts in Beirut, Lebanon August 27, 2017. REUTERS/ Mohamed Azakir

Beirut- The case of Lebanese soldiers kidnapped and slain by ISIS has witnessed rapid developments whether on the level of an internal investigation launched by the Lebanese army leadership or the judiciary supervised by the military prosecution.

The families of the martyrs are also planning to file lawsuits against all those who stood behind the developments in the northeastern border town of Arsal in 2014 that led to the capture of their relatives and the alleged negligence in the negotiations aimed at releasing the soldiers.

The investigation is not restricted to the abduction and murder of the servicemen. It actually expands to cover the clashes of Arsal on August 2, 2014 that left dozens of Lebanese soldiers dead and wounded.

A military source told Asharq Al-Awsat that the internal investigation of the military institution aims to determine those responsible for the events and to know if the army’s operation in Arsal had a miscalculation.

“The investigation has no political motives.” The military institution wouldn’t be the competent authority to tackle the case if the probe witnesses political intervention, the source added.

Some political parties insist to hold former Prime Minister Tammam Salam responsible for the events in Arsal as well as considering ex-Army Commander Gen. Jean Qahwaji had not taken steps on the ground to free the soldiers immediately after their abduction.

Hussein Youssef, father of martyred soldier Mohammed, told Asharq Al-Awsat that now after they have overcome the shock, the families of the slain troops intend to file a lawsuit in the coming days against those who caused the Arsal events and contributed in the kidnapping of the soldiers as well as those who showed negligence in the negotiations aimed at releasing them.

Youssef, a spokesperson for the families, added: “We are not making accusations against anyone but we are going to file one lawsuit because we have one case.”

It seems that families of the martyrs will not disregard the deal that exited ISIS outside the Lebanese border area and helped transport its militants to Syria’s Deir Ezzor.

The ISIS militants left the Lebanon-Syria border region on August 28 under an evacuation deal negotiated between the extremist group and “Hezbollah” following information provided by the terrorists on the location of the troops’ remains on the outskirts of Arsal.