Mikati asks ICRC to retrieve bodies of Lebanese killed in Syria

 Prime Minister Najib Mikati asked the Red Cross Monday to help retrieve the bodies of some 21 Lebanese fighters killed in Syria last week.

“Mikati phoned the representative of the International Committee for Red Cross in Lebanon, George Montani, and asked for the organization to intervene with concerned authorities in Syria to retrieve the bodies of Lebanese who were recently killed in Syria and gather information about their fate,” his press office said.

Around 21 young men from the northern city of Tripoli were killed in an ambush by the Syrian army in the town of Tal Kalakh near the border with Lebanon, a security source has told The Daily Star.

The fate of the young Salafist fighters remains unknown amid conflicting media reports about their numbers and the number of causalities in the incident.

Meanwhile, around 200 men gathered Monday afternoon at Tripoli’s Nour square, raising Salafist flags and urging to reveal the fate of the young fighters.

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea said Monday he is against any military Lebanese involvement in Syria crisis, a statement by his press office said.

“As much as we support the Syrian people in its call for freedom, we are against any military involvement by any Lebanese side in the Syrian crisis,” Geagea said in an interview to the Free Lebanon radio station.

Addressing the recent incident, Geagea said the Cabinet should meet urgently to discuss means to keep the Lebanese-Syrian borders under control.

“The Cabinet, which claims dissociation from Syria’s crisis, should hold an immediate and urgent meeting over controlling the borders fully from the north to the east,” said Geagea.

The LF leader added that the United Nations Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 July war, allows the deployment of international troops at the Lebanese-Syrian borders if needed.

“UN Resolution 1701 stipulates that the Lebanese Cabinet can ask for the help of international troops when necessary, because the Lebanese Army alone is not enough to control the situation at the border,” said Geagea.

The March 14 coalition have previously called for the deployment of the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon on the Lebanese-Syrian border to stop incursions into Lebanon as well as arms smuggling in both directions.


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