Syria has prevented the export of Lebanese agricultural products via its territories in retaliation for the burning of several Syrian fuel tankers over the past weeks, farmers and owners of packaging plants in south Lebanon said.
“The decision by the Syrian side to forbid Lebanese trucks to pass through Syria … amounts to an immense crisis affecting the owners of banana and citrus packaging plants and farmers across Lebanon,” said a statement read during a demonstration in Qassmieh, 10 km north of Tyre.
Syria always uses the borders to twist the arms of the Lebanese
This is not the first time that Lebanon – Syria borders becomes a major issue for truckers. The Syrians have always used the borders to twist the arms of the Lebanese.
In 2005 , following the assassination of Lebanon’s prime minister Rafik Hariri, Syria closed the borders with Lebanon, because the Lebanese accused the Syrian regime of being responsible for his assassination
In June 2007 when the fighting between Fatah al-Islam militants and the Lebanese army erupted , Syria closed the borders in the north of Lebanon, because the Lebanese accused the Syrians of supporting the militants.
Many analysts in Lebanon have been calling for bypassing the Syrian borders altogether by using the sea as the mode of transportation of Lebanon’s exports. These analysts think that Syria is not a reliable partner and therefore Lebanon cannot depend on it for exporting its agricultural products .
Lebanese agricultural products according to analysts are in big demand in the Middle East Gulf region due to their quality, unique flavor and excellent taste, but Syria has always been the obstacle in trying to bring these products to the markets on timely basis.
Picture: Lebanon Fruit and vegetables . In this country where you can swim and ski within one hour , it is difficult to name a fruit or vegetable that does not grow here. Lebanon is also blessed with a very moderate Mediterranean climate with distinct 4 seasons. The problem for Lebanese exporters has always been the tough neighborhood, with Israel in the south and Syria in the north and east. This is why some are calling for bypassing land transportation all together and using the Mediterranean sea instead, because they say Syria is not a reliable partner. Israel on the other hand has invaded Lebanon several times, the last time was summer of 2006 when it destroyed the country’s infrastructure and fired over 1 million cluster bombs. Many Lebanese farmers have since died for coming in contact with some of the unexploded cluster bombs.