Lebanese hunter shot at Syrian checkpoint

A Lebanese security police stands southern Lebanon, in this file photo taken on January 18, 2015. (Reuters)
Updated 27 May 2019

Lebanese hunter shot at Syrian checkpoint

  • A Lebanese mediator from Arsal had contacted Syrian security forces and arranged for the body to be recovered

BEIRUT: A retired Lebanese soldier on a bird-hunting trip was shot dead at a Syrian military checkpoint in Arsal on the Syrian-Lebanese border, sparking anger and demands for an investigation into the killing.
Two other men were detained by Syrian security forces in the incident, the first of its kind since the July 2017 battles around the town between the Lebanese army and terror groups in the area.
Wissam Youssef Karnabi, Nayef Mahmoud Raed and Hussein Ali Al-Hujairi were partridge hunting with small nets in a security zone surrounding Arsal when the shooting took place.
Al-Hujairi is believed to have been shot by Syrian troops following a dispute at the checkpoint.
Future Movement MP Bakr Al-Hujairi, a relative of the dead man, said: “The three hunters were unarmed; all they carried were nets.” He told Arab News that his relative’s body had been recovered from Damascus on Saturday night, but the fate of the other two men remains unknown.
Bassel Al-Hujairi, the mayor of Arsal, said that the three hunters had been told by Syrian troops to approach the checkpoint, “but there seems to have been a dispute between the third hunter and the Syrian soldiers, so they shot him and arrested the other two.”  
“The killing in this manner is not acceptable. There is no reason for it as the hunters were unarmed,” he said. A Lebanese mediator from Arsal had contacted Syrian security forces and arranged for the body to be recovered.
“The Syrian authorities transferred the body to a hospital in the area before it was delivered to the Lebanese side on Saturday through the Masnaa border crossing,” Al-Hujairi said.
Lebanese General Security had been told about the shooting and is following up the matter, the mayor said. He said the two men detained by the Syrian security forces are in their forties. The mayor said that the shooting victim’s funeral procession in Arsal had “an atmosphere of tension and anxiety.”


Macron slams Turkey’s aggression in Syria as ‘madness’, bewails NATO inaction

Updated 23 min 24 sec ago

Macron slams Turkey’s aggression in Syria as ‘madness’, bewails NATO inaction

  • EU Council President Donald Tusk said the halt of Turkish hostilities as demanded by the US is not a genuine cease-fire
  • He calls on Ankara to immediately stop military operations,

BRUSSELS/ANKARA: Macron critizes Turkey's aggression in Syria as "madness', bewails NATO inaction

France’s President Emmanuel Macron has bemoaned Turkey’s offensive into northern Syria as “madness” and decried NATO’s inability to react to the assault as a “serious mistake.”

“It weakens our credibility in finding partners on the ground who will be by our side and who think they will be protected in the long term. So that raises questions about how NATO functions.”

EU Council President Donald Tusk said the halt of Turkish hostilities is not a genuine cease-fire and called on Ankara to immediately stop military operations in Syria.

Dareen Khalifa, a senior Syria analyst at the International Crisis Group, said the cease-fire had unclear goals. 

There was no mention of the scope of the area that would be under Turkish control and, despite US Vice President Mike Pence referring to a 20-mile zone, the length of the zone remains ambiguous, she said.

Selim Sazak, a doctoral researcher at Brown University, believed the agreement would be implemented and the YPG would withdraw.

“The agency of the YPG is fairly limited. If the deal collapses because of the YPG, it’s actually all the better for Ankara,” he told Arab News. “What Ankara originally wanted was to take all of the belt into its control and eliminate as many of the YPG forces as possible. Instead, the YPG is withdrawing with a portion of its forces and its territory intact. Had the deal collapsed because of the YPG, Ankara would have reason to push forward, this time with much more legitimacy.”