Mashnouq: Positive Discussions Ongoing with Hizbullah on Arsal


Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq stated that Hizbullah is demonstrating “openness” regarding resolving the situation in the northeastern border town of Arsal, reported al-Mustaqbal daily on Thursday.

He told the daily: “The ongoing discussions with the party are positive and further meetings are necessary with it in the future in order to reach solutions.”

He made his remarks in light of a meeting he held on Wednesday with Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas, head of the Loyalty to the Resistance bloc MP Mohammed Raad, and MP Mohammed Fneish.

The gatherers agreed after the meeting that the situation in Arsal is a “national security priority that requires an objective solution away from political tensions.”

For his part, Mashnouq described the meeting as “positive,” saying that Hizbullah understands the need to find a solution to the case of Syrian refugees in Arsal.

Among the solutions, he told al-Mustaqbal, is the possibility of setting up a single gathering place for the refugees outside the town.

They also studied the possibility of establishing several such places.

“The representatives of Hizbullah have to resort to their leaderships before responding to such proposals,” stated the minister.

Tensions have been high in Arsal in the wake of clashes in August between the army and Islamist militants from Syria.

The fighting ended with the gunmen abducting a number of soldiers and policemen from the area.

Tensions have also been high among the Syrian refugee population in light of the army’s raid last week of their Arsal encampments in search of suspected militants.

On Wednesday, the army intelligence found in Arsal three bags containing chemicals that can be used for making bombs.

The town’s outskirts are still witnessing sporadic clashes between the army and the gunmen.

The number of refugees residing in Arsal has been estimated at almost 120,000.


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