The influx of Syrians through unofficial crossings into Lebanese territory has placed additional burdens on the army tasks , which is making intensive efforts to monitor the borders, prevent smuggling in both directions, pursue kidnapping gangs for ransom, and track down drug traffickers and others involved.
The phenomenon of Syrians crossing the borders has grown in recent weeks, with the borders with Syria witnessing a flow of displaced people through unofficial crossings that raises suspicions. This exacerbates the problem of displacement that Lebanon is trying to address.
This influx occurs through unauthorized crossings, away from the watchful eyes of security agencies, especially since these crossings, originally established for smuggling, are now being used to secretly enter Lebanon.
According to monitoring sources, the issue of displacement has become a profitable trade. There are armed gangs involved in smuggling Syrians from Syria into Lebanon, charging hefty fees for their entry into Lebanese territory, in coordination with influential parties in Syria.
Sources indicate via “Sawt Beirut International” that armed groups supported by political entities are clandestinely involved in smuggling refugees, preventing security agencies from effectively fulfilling their duty to deter the illegal influx of refugees.
The sources express surprise at the demographics of these illegal refugees, who are primarily young individuals paying substantial amounts, often in dollars, to enter Lebanon. The significant sums being paid suggest that these refugees entering Lebanon are not in need of employment there, raising suspicions about the motives behind this illegal influx.
Voicing concerns about this emerging dilemma, which could potentially threaten security in Lebanon and jeopardize the nation’s stability. Lebanon is already grappling with the burdens of the Syrian refugee crisis and does not need additional security and demographic challenges.
The Lebanese army, in collaboration with intelligence units in the northern Bekaa region, is actively pursuing smugglers and their victims. They establish temporary checkpoints and set up ambushes to chase smugglers’ vehicles in various areas, including the Bekaa Valley, and the eastern slopes of the Western Mountain Range. They also operate in exposed areas of northern Bekaa, all in an effort to limit the flow of new arrivals.