BEIRUT: At the end of a meeting chaired Wednesday by President Michel Aoun, the Lebanese Supreme Defense Council decided to extend the current period of general mobilization until the end of March 2022. It also announced opening measures borders with Syria for residents vaccinated or tested negative for COVID-19.
The council called on all military and security services to “provide security during the holidays, so that the Lebanese can enjoy some stability despite the difficult circumstances.”
He added: “We have made security decisions related to smuggling operations at legitimate and illegal crossings, as well as drug production and trafficking, exchange rate platforms, and we will monitor prices at the consumption.”
During the meeting, council members discussed “Syrian authorities opening borders to Lebanese who have been vaccinated or to those with a negative PCR test,” and the council called on the Lebanese General Security to take similar measures in coordination. with the Ministry of Health.
The Secretary General of the Supreme Defense Council, Major General Mahmoud Al-Asmar said the council discussed the situation of the wheat silos in the port of Beirut, which were badly damaged in the explosion on August 4, 2020. He explained that the council had insisted on the need to accelerate measures to prevent the silos from collapsing completely.
“The council called on the ministries of economy and public works and the council for development and reconstruction to deal with the problem,” he said.
Statements by the Lebanese army commander, General Joseph Aoun, published on Wednesday by the army’s National Defense magazine, revealed the difficult conditions facing the country’s army.
General Aoun warned that “sedition is imminent, but we will nip it in the bud”.
“Soldiers must realize that they are faced with a sacred mission; the 1975 civil war was a bitter experience and we will not allow history to repeat itself. We will never again let the militias take over and we will no longer live under the mercy of armed gangs and terrorism, ”he said.
Addressing his soldiers directly in the article, Aoun said: “In whose hands do we leave our homeland?” Chaos? Civil war? The sacrifices and efforts you are making have kept Lebanon from collapsing, despite many developments since October 2019. We have been faced with protests, the pandemic, the Beirut port explosion and economic conditions devastating. But we have succeeded in preserving civil peace thanks to the confidence of our people and the international community, and that has encouraged many to help us.
The general also referred to information on the number of deserting soldiers and other candidates for resignation. “Rumors exaggerate the numbers,” he said. “Many soldiers who left joined the army after discovering that the benefits provided by the army could not be found in any other job. “
He called on the officers “to educate the soldiers so that they do not rush into making decisions they will regret.”
General Aoun spoke of the repercussions of Lebanon’s financial collapse on the armed forces, saying: “The main concern has become transport. I am well aware of all the pressures and challenges that you are going through, including the protest movements, the fuel and drug crises, the raids, the clashes and many others, and you have met with wisdom and patience each of these challenges.
“I don’t expect the economic crisis to end soon and we might be faced with worse scenarios,” he added. “We are not the cause of the crisis, nor the solution. We are simply doing our duty to our homeland, and we will be present wherever we are needed. Our duty is to help the state find solutions while ensuring security and stability. We have overcome many difficulties in the past and we will also overcome this crisis. We will weather this storm until it ends.
General Aoun noted, “The army has bought buses and vans, and they will be in service soon, which will solve the transport problem for many soldiers.
He revealed that 68% of soldiers have so far received two doses of the vaccine, and stressed “the need to vaccinate the rest. Soldiers who refused to be vaccinated would have to cover their own medical costs if they contract COVID-19, he added.
General Aoun also commented on rumors of “discrimination in the distribution of aid within the military institution”, calling on the soldiers “to pay no heed to such demands because the army is for everyone. and against all those who violate security “.
The army has asked for food aid from Arab and foreign armies.
“Donors face legal and constitutional obstacles, but efforts are being made to find solutions to secure this aid to the army,” the general stressed.