FPM, Hezbollah Celebrate Alliance’s 10th Anniversary
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Free Patriotic Movement founder Michel Aoun reaffirmed his party’s 10-year-long alliance with Hezbollah resistance movement over the weekend, expressing gratitude to its military involvement in Syria which he said helped safeguard Lebanon.
Speaking to OTV Sunday, Aoun said Lebanon remained in a “state of war” and needed the help of Hezbollah to defend the border as the national Army was not large or well-equipped enough to take on the task.
“We are currently living in a state of war on Lebanese soil and we need Hezbollah to defend the Lebanese border,” Aoun said.
“Our Army does not have the equipment or numbers to defend the border, so Hezbollah has graciously took on this task because our families are in danger,” the Daily Star reported.
Aoun made similar remarks last year during a Hezbollah-Syrian army offensive to oust militants from the rugged border region known as the Qalamoun.
Hundreds of militants, including members of Daesh (ISIL) and the Nusra Front, were killed in the offensive, while the rest were driven north and are now holed up on the eastern outskirts of Lebanon’s northeastern towns of Arsal and Ras Baalbek.
Aoun, who is backed by Hezbollah for the presidency, was recently challenged by Kataeb Party chief Sami Gemayel over his position on Hezbollah’s operations in Syria.
An agreement reached between Aoun and Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea last month said they opposed allowing militants and arms to pass through Lebanon, and Gemayel demanded to know if that meant Aoun was now against Hezbollah fighting in Syria.
Aoun earlier received a delegation from Hezbollah to mark the 10th anniversary of the Memorandum of Understanding between both parties headed by Hajj Hussein Khalil.
The agreement was declared by Aoun and Hezbollah chief Seyed Hassan Nasrallah on Feb., 2006, at the Mar Mikhael church in Beirut’s southern suburb of Chiyah.
“They [Hezbollah and FPM’s rivals] have failed to weaken our alliance,” Khalil told reporters after the meeting.