Lebanese security agencies have bolstered their measures along the country’s southeastern borders with Syria to prevent the infiltration of extremists fleeing the war-torn country.
Fears of this infiltration were highlighted in wake of battles the Syrian regime forces and its allies are waging in the Syrian town of Beit Jin southwest of Damascus, which is 7 kms away from Lebanon’s Shebaa border region.
In the town of Shebaa, the Lebanese army intensified its military measures where it arrested Syrians suspected of being affiliated with the al-Nusra Front.
An Army Command statement issued over the weekend confirmed the arrest of “a number of Syrians in the Shebaa region for belonging to the terrorist al-Nusra Front and for participating in terror acts.”
The army discovered a weapons cache in the region as well.
Investigations are underway with the detainees.
The Shebaa region has long been a safe passage for Syrians fleeing the unrest in their country and seeking refuge in Lebanon. The border point in the southeastern region was however closed by Lebanese authorities in 2014.
The recent regime battle to regain control of Beit Jin sparked concerns that opposition fighters in the town will use their only way out of the area by heading to Lebanon through Shebaa.
The residents of Shebaa however have made light of those concerns after the army bolstered its measures along the border.
Shebaa municipal chief Mohammed Saab told Asharq Al-Awsat: “There are no serious concerns because of the tight security measures that were taken in and outside the town.”
The army has deployed at ten border points and it has dispatched patrols in the area, he revealed.
The military is on alert to prevent any infiltration of extremists into Lebanon, he stressed.
The army had bolstered its measures there less than two weeks ago as part of a plan to expand its presence in the region south of the Litani River and after the eastern border with Syria was cleansed of extremists that had been holed up there in recent years since the eruption of the conflict in the neighboring country.