The Lebanese Defense Ministry denied reports Friday that Syrian forces executed scores of Gen. Michel Aoun's soldiers after the Christian strongman gave up last week, despite witness accounts to the contrary.
Meanwhile, two French planes landed at Beirut International Airport to transfer Aoun's family and a number of his aides following a reported accord between the Lebanese and French governments.Security sources said Aoun's wife and three daughters, as well as the families of his close aides, Brigadier Issam Abu Jamra and Lt. Col. Adel Sassin, will be flown to France with three of his officers who do not face charges. Aoun remained in the French Embassy in Beirut.
The Defense Ministry said in a statement the information on "summary killings is completely baseless. The corpses at the Baabda Governmental Hospital belong to soldiers who died during the battles."
Earlier reports indicated the bodies of about 100 Lebanese soldiers loyal to Aoun were transported to Baabda Hospital after a joint Syrian-Lebanese attack on the general's headquarters.
Witnesses said a number of them were shot at close range and mutilated beyond recognition.
Medical sources at the hospital said 70 of the corpses were identified and released to relatives while 27 others remained in the morgue.
"Some corpses were stiffened with hands twisted behind backs indicating soldiers were killed while tied up," said a witness who requested anonymity.