Commander of the Lebanese Army General Jean Kahwaji said his country has emerged from highly challenging situation in the last few days thanks to the efforts of the Army.
“The army, which does not side with a certain faction against another, managed to contain a serious sectarian sedition,” he said in a statement released by the Military Command.
Addressing the Military, he said: “You have saved your country from sedition at a time when the Army is facing a politically-motivated defamation campaign. This campaign tried to put the Army on the side of a certain faction against another and provide protection to aggressors.”
The Army asserted its unity and coherence during the recent crisis in the port city of Sidon (Sayda) and avoided targeting any place or worship or religious leader, General Kahwaji said.
“A group of militants, driven by the misguided notion that the Army has hostile attitudes to their faction, attacked the Army undeterred by previous military warnings that the army would respond to any hostile act,” he went on.
General Kahwaji called on the Lebanese people, particularly the residents of Beirut, Tripoli, Beqaa, Mount Lebanon, Sidon and South Lebanon, to back the efforts of the Army to maintain calm countrywide instead of turning these areas into hotbeds of militants.
The statement came after the Army took control of the stronghold of Ahmad Al-Assir supporters in Abra neighborhood to the east of the southern city of Sidon Tuesday in the wake of 24 hours of fierce battles.
In a related development, outgoing Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam met with former Prime Ministers Fouad Sanioura, Saleem Al-Hoss and Omar Karami at the cabinet headquarters in Beirut to discuss the recent unrest.
A statement, released following the meeting, said the senior politicians condemned strongly any attack against the National Army or any other security or public institution.
Meanwhile, they stated opposition to any attempt to put the Army head-on with the Muslim Sunnis, affirming the national commitment of the Sunnis and their abidance by the rule of law. The senior leaders called on people from all walks of life to co-exist with each other peacefully and work together for cementing the national unity.