BEIRUT — A van driver transporting informal Syrian migrants at the Lebanese-Syrian borders died Thursday following an exchange of fire with the Lebanese Army.
The incident took place in the al-Qbor al-Bayd area near the banks of Nahr al-Kabir.
According to a statement issued by the Army on Thursday, the van driver hit a soldier and tried to run him over after an army patrol tried to stop the van. The soldiers shot at the vehicle's tires after the driver tried to escape the scene.
"This resulted in the driver being injured, losing control of the vehicle and colliding with an electric pole, leading to his death. An investigation was launched under the supervision of the competent judiciary," the Army statement continued.
Contacted by L'Orient Today, a security source identified the deceased driver as Hatem M.S., Lebanese. The source added that the Lebanese Red Cross transferred him to the Our Lady of Peace Hospital in Kobayat, Akkar.
During the past few weeks, the Lebanese Army reported intercepting thousands of illegally smuggling attempts.
Many human trafficking and drug smuggling networks operate along the porous border between Lebanon and Syria.
According to official estimates, Lebanon hosts 2 million Syrian refugees, amongst whom only 830,000 are registered with the UN.
Reporting contributed by Michel Hallak