Lebanon army arrests 48 Syrians in 'irregular migration attempt'

Lebanon army arrests 48 Syrians in 'irregular migration attempt'
Two Lebanese nationals have been arrested for attempted human trafficking from the port of Abdeh in northern Lebanon, along with 48 Syrians who were allegedly planning to leave the country illegally.
2 min read
15 September, 2023
Lebanon hosts the highest number of refugees per capita in the world [Getty]

The Lebanese army has arrested dozens of Syrians who were reportedly attempting to leave Lebanon by boat, state news agency NNA reported on Thursday citing an army statement.

A raid was carried out at the home of one of the Lebanese, leading to the discovery of "48 Syrian nationals who were also preparing to leave the country illegally", the statement said. They were arrested and a boat had been seized.

"Two Lebanese men, who were preparing an illegal escape operation by sea from the port of Abdeh" in northern Lebanon, were intercepted by an army patrol, the statement said.

An investigation into the incident will be carried out, the army said.

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In August, the army said it had intercepted 130 Syrians and five Lebanese nationals who were allegedly planning to migrate to Europe by sea.

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

More recently, Lebanon has witnessed a surge in Syrian economic migrants as a result of the faltering economy in neighbouring Syria and rising inflation.

Lebanon's caretaker Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib agreed on Wednesday in a phone call with his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad to visit Damascus "soon" to discuss the repatriation of Syrian migrants in Lebanon, NNA reported.

Bou Habib will head a delegation to discuss the situation of Syrians in Lebanon.

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 addition to more than 210,000 Palestinian refugees.

Syrian refugees are among the worst hit by the economic crisis currently gripping Lebanon, with some 90 percent of Syrian refugees in the country living in extreme poverty.

Lebanese officials have cited the economic crisis as a reason for the push to deport Syrian refugees.