Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Lebanese Army Closes Most Illegal Crossings with Syria

Lebanese Army Closes Most Illegal Crossings with Syria

Sunday, 24 May, 2020 - 05:00
Photo released by the Lebanese army command shows seized smuggled goods in the Baalbek area.
Bekaa (East Lebanon) - Hussein Darwish

The Lebanese army has closed most illegal border crossings that are used to smuggle goods from and to Syria.

The army has left only one major illegal crossing and a few small roads open on the porous border.

The move came following controversy over the smuggling of subsidized commodities such as flour and fuel from Lebanon to the neighboring country.

Last week, the Lebanese government ordered the seizure of all contraband goods at its border with Syria.

Previous governments had left the illegal crossings open under the excuse of allowing Lebanese families living inside Syria territories or in villages on the border to use certain roads for the purchase of goods from Lebanon.

A cabinet minister, who refused to be identified, warned in remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat from any neglect in the implementation of the plan to seize smuggled goods and keep illegitimate crossings closed.

The Lebanese army has consolidated its presence on the border, erecting new checkpoints near the crossings.

Security and military personnel deployed on 10 such crossings from Hawsh al-Sayyed Ali in the north, all the way to al-Qaa and the Jousiyeh crossing in the east.

The land border brigade removed three bridges used by pedestrians and vehicles to cross over Jousiyeh stream to smuggle goods such as candies and tobacco from Syria to Lebanon, and flour and fuel the other way around.

The army’s measures isolated some towns, which are resided by Lebanese citizens, but are located inside Syrian territories.

Their residents called for establishing a pedestrian bridge linking the Lebanese towns with the Hermel area.

They also complained that bread was missing in the towns’ markets.

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