2 Lebanese detained over smuggling arms to Syria


Two Lebanese men were detained on suspicion of smuggling arms into Syria through the Bekaa town of Arsal.

Military judge Imad al-Zein questioned the two, who were identified by their first names as Wael and Bahaa, and subsequently issued an order authorizing their continued detention .

Arsal has been the at the center of a nationwide controversy after Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn said that al-Qaeda members had taken up residence in the village in the guise of Syrian opposition members. The claim prompted the country’s High Defense Council to launch an investigation along with a crackdown on arms smuggling and other illegal activity in the region.

Syria, which dominated Lebanon politically and through its intelligence apparatus after the 1975-1991 Lebanese civil war, has demanded its neighbor rein in the movement of weapons across the border to the insurgency that has developed during an 11-month-old uprising against President Bashar Assad.

The uprising has deepened pre-existing splits between Syria’s foes and allies in Lebanon. The Shi’ite movement Hezbollah is seen as supporting the Syrian regime in its crackdown against the pro-democracy protesters .