BEIRUT — Dozens of people were arrested in northern Lebanon on charges of human smuggling and illegal migration, the Lebanese Army said in two statements Wednesday.
An army unit, supported by the Intelligence Directorate, raided homes of wanted persons in the town of Chadra, Akkar, and arrested nine people for allegedly helping a number of Syrians move illegally within Lebanese territory, the Lebanese Army said in a Wednesday statement.
In the same town, an army force also detained 60 people with Syrian nationality for illegal entry into Lebanon. An investigation was launched under the supervision of the competent judiciary, the statement concluded.
“After monitoring and investigating human smuggling operations along the northern Lebanese coastline towards Europe, the Directorate of Intelligence arrested 15 Lebanese and 31 Syrians in the towns of Bebnin, Al-Mina, Deir Ammar, Salhat and Al-Minia for their involvement in preparing to smuggle individuals illegally by sea aboard a group of boats,” a second statement explained Wednesday.
In July, the Lebanese Army arrested five Syrian nationals in the area of Silaata, Batroun, on allegations of organizing a sea crossing for informal migrants. From January to December 2022, UNHCR claimed to have received reports of 51 boats involved in irregular transit, with a total of 4,334 passengers on board.
In 2022, would-be migrants departing from Lebanon were found to be comprised of 62.2 percent Syrians, 28 percent Lebanese, and 11 percent Palestinians, according to figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).