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Lebanon watching over Arsal’s refugee population

THE LEVANT – The Lebanese government has begun keeping a close watch on camps hosting Syrian refugees in Lebanon, a Lebanese security source said on Monday.

According to the source, the new policy was instituted earlier this month after scores of refugees from the camps offered assistance to militants fighting the Lebanese army in Arsal, a village located on the border between Lebanon and Syria.

“The government does not want Syrian refugee camps to turn into criminal strongholds or ticking time bombs,” the security source told Anadolu Agency.

Earlier this month, scores of militants thought to be linked to militant groups fighting the Syrian regime took up arms against the Lebanese army in Arsal.

Over six days of fighting, they killed 17 Lebanese troops – and captured several others – before pulling out of the village.

On Sunday, the militants freed two of the captured Lebanese troops. Nevertheless, recent events in Arsal have shown that Lebanon is far from immune from the violence in neighboring Syria.

Another security source, meanwhile, said some Syrians and Lebanese were being employed as informants by the Lebanese army to keep track of Syrian refugees who potentially wanted to harm Lebanon’s security.

 

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