Syria's Embassy in Lebanon has denied claims that it is interfering in the upcoming parliamentary elections in the country, insisting that it upholds Lebanese sovereignty.
In a statement released by the Embassy today, it said that "Some sides persist in promoting allegations about political and security interference by the Syrian Embassy in the forthcoming polls. It is no surprise that these sides carry on with their illusions and erroneous bets and with their attempts to twist the truth and fabricate enemies."
The allegations the Embassy was referring to include reports by Lebanese news outlets which drew attention to Damascus's potential influencing of supporters close to the Lebanese border with Syria. It is particularly in the northern province of Akkar, where many who are sympathetic to the Syrian regime reportedly live, and which is home to Lebanon's largest Alawite population – the same sect Syria's dictator Bashar Al-Assad hails from.
According to these reports, thousands of voters in the area are loyal to Damascus and what is referred to as the "Syrian instruction", and their votes could tip the scales in favour of a candidate with ties to Syria.
The head of Lebanon's Progressive Socialist Party, Walid Jumblatt, also raised concerns over Syrian interference in the elections, calling the vote "a confrontation between the Syrian axis and what remains of an independent national decision". Jumblatt was also quoted as expressing hope that recently-improved ties with Gulf Arab states will lead to more political balance "so that we do not remain under Iranian and Syrian control."
The Syrian Embassy asserted that it "reiterates its respect for the sovereignty of Lebanon, and it stresses that it does not intervene in its domestic affairs." It also claimed it hopes "that the elections constitute a chance for Lebanon and the Lebanese to head towards a future filled with security, stability, growth and development."