Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Al-Miqati has insisted that the Syrian army base at Deir Al-Ashayier is actually on Lebanese land.
He says that he’ll discuss the base when he makes his first foreign trip as PM, to Damascus on Wednesday.
Locals are angry that their Syrian neighbours didn’t withdraw along with the 14,000 Syrian troops based in Lebanon. Fahed Ayoub, head of Deir al-Ashayier municipality says he is gathering proof to demonstrate that the base is on their side of the border.
Deir Al-Ashayier is in an undemarcated mountainous area. The border has never been clearly defined. Syria insists the base is 300 meters inside Syria, but Lebanese locals complain that it’s actually a few hundred meters on their side of the border. The truth is, no-one knows.
The base in this border region was established years before 1976, when Syrian troops flooded across the border to quell the civil war. And troops at this base never fell under the command of the Syrian Army in Lebanon.
The two countries have set up a joint committee to decide which side of the border the base is on.