Lebanon prepares for Syria strike

Lebanon is preparing itself for all eventualities, including a possible closure of Beirut’s airport, to cope with the repercussions of a potential U.S.-led military strike on Syria as officials scrambled Sunday to reassure foreign diplomats about their safety.

“We have studied all the possibilities and taken all precautions [to deal with a military strike on Syria]. If something happens, we will act accordingly,” caretaker Public Works Minister Ghazi Aridi said.

Asked if the closure of Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport was among the options being mulled by the government, he said: “Let’s see first if the [military] strike will be carried out through Lebanon’s airspace or not, what is the size of this strike and where it could lead to.”

“The closure of the airport is a major political decision taken by the government,” Aridi said, when asked if he was ready to order the facility’s closure in the event Syria was attacked by the United States and its Western allies over its alleged use of chemical weapons.

On whether exceptional security measures were being taken to ensure that air traffic would not be affected if Syria was attacked, Aridi said: “This question is premature. When the [military] strike is carried out, we will take the appropriate measures.”

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