| 18 April 2024, Thursday |

Lebanon foils attempt to smuggle 231 Syrians to Italy by sea

Lebanon foiled on Sunday the smuggling of 231 Syrians towards Italy by sea.

In a statement, the General Directorate of the Internal Security Forces said it arrested six people for planning the illegal trip.

The statement said that the ISF not only thwarted the operation, but “saved the lives of 231 souls that would have faced an unknown fate at sea.”

It added that an investigation is underway in the incident.

The ISF said it had received information about the planned illegal crossing days earlier.

The smugglers were planning to transport the Syrians from Selaata to Italy. They were paid $6,000 to $7,000 per passenger.

The ISF consequently ordered intense patrols to be deployed to foil the smuggling. At dawn on Saturday, it carried out two simultaneous operations on the al-Minieh-Dinnieh and Muhamara highways in northern Lebanon.

It detained over 200 Syrians, including smugglers and migrants, and five Lebanese collaborators.

The ISF announcement came a day after the army thwarted an attempt to smuggle dozens of Syrians from northern Lebanon towards Europe by sea.

The military arrested five Syrians at a checkpoint in the northern town of Selaata for planning the illegal trip from Batroun. Forty-nine Syrians, including women and children, were arrested at the Deir Ammar checkpoint as they were headed to their departure from Batroun.

Lebanon’s northern shores have become a launching point for human trafficking to Europe.

Some attempts have been thwarted, while other journeys have succeeded in reaching Italian, Greek or Cypriot shores.

Syrians make up the majority of the travelers making the dangerous sea journey.

Lebanon’s shores are open for small boats that often head to sea with the migrants where they are unloaded in larger vessels in international waters.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat