The Syrian forces have pushed about 80 vehicles from the Fourth Division towards the Lebanese borders to close illegal smuggling crossings, following a dispute between a Lebanese smuggler and Syrian border guards, which resulted in the killing of a Syrian officer and three military members earlier this week.
In parallel, the Lebanese army tightened its control over the Lebanese borders and illegal crossings in eastern and northern Lebanon, and chased those involved in smuggling operations.
Tensions erupted in the border region on Tuesday following a clash between a notorious Lebanese smuggler from the Nasreddine family and Syrian soldiers, in the town of Hosh al-Sayed Ali, north of Hermel in the far northeast of Lebanon.
The dispute led to the killing of a Syrian officer and the injury of three soldiers, while Nasreddine managed to escape towards Lebanese territories.
Consequently, the Syrian army escalated its measures and pushed reinforcements from the Fourth Division, comprising more than 80 military vehicles to the border area with Lebanon. Syrian soldiers raided the house of the Lebanese smuggler and blew it up after they found no one inside, sources with knowledge of the matter told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The sources added that the Syrian forces “have tightened control over all illegal crossings,” by firing at and arresting people who attempt to illegally enter the Syrian soil.
The Lebanese army, for its part, is trying to restrict the movement of smugglers at illegal crossings, in implementation of measures taken by the Lebanese authorities to prevent the smuggling of diesel, medicines, and various commodities into the Syrian interior, and the opposite smuggling of goods and foodstuffs into Lebanese territory.