Lebanon to File Complaint With UN Against Alleged Israeli Strikes in Syria

Citing violation of Lebanese airspace, Lebanon will join Syria in complaint to UN Security Council

Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil in Beirut, Lebanon, June 23, 2017.
Hussein Malla/AP

Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil instructed his country’s delegation to file a complaint against Israel with the UN Security Council for its reported airstrike on Thursday on a weapons factory in western Syria.

A Syrian military statement said Israeli warplanes struck the site early Thursday from within Lebanese airspace, killing two soldiers and causing extensive damage to the site.

A session of Lebanon’s Supreme Defense Council held on Friday and headed by President Michael Aoun, decided to register the complaint. In a statement the council said the complaint would focus on what it called Israel’s unprecedented violation of Lebanese airspace to bomb Syrian territories.

The most important item on Lebanon’s agenda was not the incident ascribed to Israel, but rather the battles against the Islamic State on the Lebanese-Syrian border. In the past two days 10 funerals were held for Lebanese soldiers who were abducted and murdered by the Islamic State some three years ago. The release of their remains was part of a deal, mediated by Hezbollah, in which the Shi’ite Lebanese organization permitted Islamic State militants to withdraw to Syria. Families of the Lebanese soldiers, most of whom were either Christian Arabs or Shi’ite Muslims, were upset that captive Sunni Muslim soldiers were released before the soldiers’ remains were handed over.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry filed a complaint about the strike it blamed on Israel with the UN Security Council and the UN secretary general on Thursday.

“Israeli aggression has become a norm,” Syria said in the complaint, adding that Israel is trying to aid terror groups such as the Nusra Front and the Islamic State in light of the progress made by the Syrian army. The Security Council’s inaction on the matter, the complaint added, is “unacceptable.”

Damascus demanded that the Security Council denounce Israel’s actions, adding: “Those who attack the Syrian army are direct supporters of terror organizations, in light of the fact that the Syrian army and its allies are fighting against terror.”