Authorities: No political party is involved in smuggling arms to Syria


Lebanese security forces could neither confirm nor deny reports of the smuggling of weapons from Lebanon to Syria, a security source told The Daily Star Monday. The security source added that such reports could not be verified because the incident is said to have taken place within Syrian territory.

“The information being circulated during the last few hours over the smuggling of weapons was reported by the Syrian rather than Lebanese customs department,” the source said.

However, the source confirmed that the Lebanese Army intelligence services and border police have uncovered a “very limited number of smuggling attempts” and arrested individuals involved in the past.

Nevertheless, the source denied that any Lebanese political party was involved in smuggling weapons to opposition groups in Syria, amid accusations by Hezbollah against the Future Movement of involvement in the arming of Syrian protesters.

“If any individual, who was caught trafficking weapons on an individual basis or for money-making, belongs to a certain political party, it does not mean that his political party is involved in the process. Security forces will deal with him as a criminal,” the source added.

“The traded accusations between the parliamentary majority and minority are not accurate at all,” the source said.

Security forces arrested last Friday three Lebanese on charges of attempting to smuggle automatic rifles from the Beirut coastline by boat. Reports said the weapons were destined for Syria.

The suspects were arrested and referred to the military judiciary, which indicted them with arms smuggling.

Hezbollah’s Loyalty to Resistance parliamentary bloc leader Mohammad Raad had accused the Future Movement of smuggling weapons to Syria and using Lebanon as a launch pad to attack Damascus.

In response to Hezbollah’s accusations, Future Movement politburo member Rashed Fayed told The Daily Star that Hezbollah’s accusations were an attempt to “tarnish the Future Movement’s image at any price.”

“Hezbollah and its allies are the remaining assets of the Syrian regime in Lebanon with a militia mentality,” Fayed said.

Fayed added that Hezbollah and its allies would be better off if they stopped anticipating verdicts of judicial authorities.

Future Movement leader Saad Hariri urged the Lebanese government Monday to stand by the Syrian people, and not isolate itself from its neighboring country.

Hariri had earlier condemned the violence in Syria, urging Lebanon and the international community not to remain silent. He also said that violence used by the Syrian authority against protesters would not lead to a resolution.

Since mid-March, Syria has witnessed increasing anti-government protests aimed at toppling Assad and his government. Syrian authorities have engaged in a violent crackdown on protesters, while describing elements of the protest as a foreign conspiracy against the country.

In a separate incident, the Syrian navy fired at two Lebanese boats, fishing in regional water.

The incident did not result in injuries as passengers of the fishing boat reportedly returned to the northern border town of Al-Arida.

Daily Star