Al-Qaida Members among Syrian Refugees in Lebanon: Media
    2011-12-22 01:24:46     Xinhua       Web Editor: Jiang

The Lebanese army raised concerns at a security meeting that some "Syrian refugees" fleeing to Lebanon are actually al-Qaida members, the English-language The Daily Star reported on Wednesday.

At the meeting chaired by Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Lebanese Army Commander Jean Kahwagi said that illegal smuggling of weapons and fighters is taking place in the Lebanese border town of Arsal, The Daily Star said.

Kahwagi echoed comments made earlier by Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn that members of terrorist groups are entering Arsal under the guise of Syrian opposition to establish a base.

Syrian refugees have been fleeing to northern Lebanon's Wadi Khaled since the anti-government protests broke out in March. But in the past few months, attention has been focused on Arsal in the northeast, where weapon smuggling is suspected through the mountains that mark the Syria-Lebanon border.

At the meeting, Kahwagi confirmed to sources close to the prime minister that some weapon smugglers who claim to be Syrian opposition are in fact al-Qaida members, The Daily Star said.

Kahwagi added that when the army attempted to confront these people, groups in Lebanon opposed such a move in defense of freedom.

According to The Daily Star, Kahwagi told those present at the meeting that the military needs the political support to carry out operations against the terrorists and cannot act in this alone.

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