BEIRUT: President Michel Sleiman has expressed hope that Syrian President Bashar Assad is not involved in a recently uncovered terror plot to destabilize Lebanon.
“I hope from all my heart that no Syrian officials have anything to do with these explosives and that [the plot] was orchestrated by unofficial elements,” Sleiman said in remarks published by several local newspapers Saturday.
Former Information Minister Michel Samaha was charged last week, along with a high-ranking Syrian army official, in a terror plot to undermine Lebanon’s security.
In his confession to the Internal Security Forces Information Branch shortly after his arrest on Aug. 10, Samaha said Assad wanted bomb attacks in Lebanon, according to sources.
An undercover agent, identified by security sources as Milad Kfouri, was said to have provided incriminating footage in the Samaha case. Kfouri reportedly left Lebanon sometime before the police raid on Samaha’s residences in Beirut’s Ashrafieh and Metn’s Khanshara-Jwar, over concerns for his safety.
In a video shot by Kfouri, Samaha says "This is what Bashar wants," according to the sources.
Sleiman said Assad has not called him thus far regarding Samaha’s arrest.
"I expect [Assad] to call me, but he has not yet,” he said.
Nevertheless, Sleiman, described his relationship with Assad as “good and open.”
Sleiman confirmed that he saw the explosives allegedly transported by Samaha from Syria to Lebanon “with his own eyes.”
“I was shocked at what I saw, and thank God these explosives did not explode."