Lebanese security forces arrest three Syrians with links to Daesh in Middle East, Europe
BEIRUT: Lebanese security forces have arrested three Syrians believed to have links to Daesh terror groups across the Middle East and Europe.
The Lebanese General Directorate of General Security said on Wednesday that investigations were ongoing and more arrests were expected.
One of the detainees had been plotting a bombing campaign against Lebanese military and civilian targets, while also producing videos on how to make explosives.
The announcement coincided with a speech by the Lebanese President Michel Aoun, in which he expressed concerns about the economic and security pressures being placed on Lebanon by the number of Syrian refugees in the country.
Speaking at a meeting of diplomats at the presidential palace on Wednesday, Aoun said keeping Syrian refugees in Lebanon was “harmful to our country at all levels.”
He said the war against terrorism was now a global one which had caused huge displacements of populations in countries throughout the Middle East.
Aoun said: “Lebanon is one of the countries that have borne the burden of neighboring wars and the flow of Syrian refugees into it.” He added that while Lebanon had been successful in tackling terrorism on its own soil, the refugee crisis continued to “weigh heavily” on economic, security, social, educational and health aspects of the country.
He said Lebanon’s infrastructure and limited resources “are unable to sustain this population increase,” and he urged the international community to take urgent steps to help resolve the refugee situation. Peace in the region, he added, would only come by recognizing the rights of others, however difficult and costly that may be.
Joseph Spiteri, the Apostolic Nuncio to Lebanon, stressed the need for international diplomatic and economic support for Lebanon to tackle its internal and external challenges, including the Syrian refugee crisis. The Papal envoy added: “In the context of the ever-evolving geopolitical reality, we hope that Lebanon will remain stable and able to benefit from its pioneering role in the region, drawing on its rich history and experience over the last 75 years of its existence as a republic.”
Meanwhile, Lebanese security forces said the three detained Syrians, born in 2000, 1968 and 1997, had been arrested for belonging to “a terrorist organization.”
One of the detainees was said to have confessed allegiance to Daesh through a Syrian group religious leader in the Lebanese town of Arsal. The statement said the detainees had revealed that groups supporting the terrorist organization had been set up through social networking sites to attract recruits. One of those arrested had been recruited to form a terror cell to operate within Lebanese territory and was associated with a Daesh Iraqi commander and other commanders in Syria, Palestine, Turkey and Europe.
“They published video recordings on how to prepare explosives and manufacture lethal poisons from materials available in local markets,” the statement said. “He (the detainee) bought some of these materials with the knowledge of his father, the third detainee, and he conducted more than one experiment to make explosives in order to assassinate a person from Arsal and to carry out operations against Lebanese army bases and patrols in the town. The material was seized inside his (the detainee’s) house in Arsal.”