Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea described as “disappointing” the Higher Defense Council’s decision to “curb” smuggling through Lebanon’s illegal border crossings, saying they should have been ordered closed “entirely.”
“The Higher Defense Council’s decision on Wednesday was very disappointing. We have heard words like this before and it led to no practical result on the ground,” said Geagea.
“A strict and decisive political decision in the government is required for the Lebanese army, internal security forces and all security apparatuses concerned, to entirely close illegal crossings and smuggling between Lebanon and Syria,” he added.
Lebanon is losing hundreds of millions of dollars annually as a result, noted Geagea.
“What resulted in the meeting of the Higher Defense Council yesterday means “no decision” and more procrastination. In practice it means continuation of losing hundreds of millions of dollars annually due to smuggling operations taking place at a time when Lebanon is begging from abroad for a handful of dollars,” said Geagea.
On Wednesday, the Defense Council decided to “intensify monitoring and prosecution and toughen penalties against smugglers and their partners” in a bid to control illicit trafficking across the porous and poorly demarcated border with Syria.
It also decided to “devise a comprehensive plan for setting up military, security and customs monitoring posts.”