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Lebanon army arrests 1,000 Syrians along Syria border

Lebanese army arrests 1,000 Syrians attempting to enter Lebanon
2 min read
22 September, 2023
The Lebanese army announced the arrest of about 1,000 Syrians who it said were attempting to illegally "infiltrate" the country.
Lebanon hosts the most Syrian refugees per capita in the world [Getty]

The Lebanese army said it had arrested about 1,000 Syrians who were "attempting to infiltrate" Lebanon at several points along its sprawling border with Syria.

"Within the framework of combating people smuggling across land borders, army units thwarted, on various dates during the current week, attempts to infiltrate about 1,000 Syrians into Lebanon," the army said in the statement on Thursday.

The army also reported that one of its border patrols foiled an attempt on Wednesday to "smuggle goods" from Lebanon into Syria via the northern border. The incident resulted in the killing of one of the alleged smugglers.

"The patrol was targeted by shots fired by the smugglers and returned fire, wounding one of the smugglers. He was transferred to hospital where he lost his life," the statement said.

The seized goods, the nature of which the army did not specify, were handed over to the relevant authorities and an investigation was launched.

The Lebanese-Syrian border has also been identified as one of the major crossing points for the amphetamine-like drug captagon, which the US claims is mass-produced in Syria by elements of the Assad regime and distributed by Hezbollah, which holds significant power in Lebanon.

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Earlier this year, the US identified working with Lebanese authorities to better police the Syrian border as one of its top priorities in its strategy to stop the mass dispersal of captagon throughout the region. 

Millions of Syrians fled to Lebanon due to the outbreak of war in 2011, mostly from areas in opposition towns in southern Syria and the Damascus suburbs targeted by the Assad regime.

According to the latest statistics from the UN, Lebanon hosts the highest number of refugees per capita in the world, with more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees on its soil.

In recent years, the presence of refugees in Lebanon has become politically contentious, with Lebanon increasingly looking to the international community and even the Assad regime to repatriate its existing Syrian refugee population.

Lebanon is currently in the grip of a devastating economic crisis, which has fuelled tensions between the state and refugees and which has seen Lebanon increasingly ramp up its border patrols.

Most major human rights groups and the UN agree that Syria under Assad is not safe for Syrian refugees to return.

Lebanon is also known as a major hub for Syrian refugees trying to reach Europe, something which has been exacerbated by Lebanon’s unprecedented financial crisis, which has disproportionately affected Syrian refugees.