Lebanon: Arrested two traffickers - They were organizing crossings from Libya to Europe

The Lebanese security forces announced that they arrested two Syrians who were members of a network of traffickers

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Lebanese security forces announced today that they have arrested two Syrians who were part of a network of smugglers organizing the irregular migration of hundreds of people to Europe from Libya via the Mediterranean.

In a statement, the Internal Security Forces (FSI) clarified that the two men, who entered Lebanon illegally, were arrested in the eastern part of the country, which borders Syria.

According to the FSI, the two traffickers are members of a network that organizes the irregular migration of "Syrians, Lebanese, Egyptians, Palestinians, Africans and others from Libya to Europe by boat".

One of the traffickers worked in coordination with two of his brothers, one of whom lived in Libya and the other in Greece.

The announcement clarifies that the two men also had as accomplices "Lebanese from the Wadi Khaled region" in the north of the country, one of the main crossing points for Syrians entering Lebanon illegally.

They confessed to asking "$3.500" from each irregular immigration candidate and arranging the journey from Libya by boat to Italy and Greece.

One of the boats they had arranged for the trip was wrecked off Tobruk in eastern Libya months ago. The two traffickers then fled Libya for Syria.

Plunged into chaos after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya has become a hub for tens of thousands of migrants seeking to reach Europe illegally by sea.

Among them are many Syrians pushed by the economic crisis in their war-torn country. They arrive in Libya by air either from their country or, often, via Lebanon.

Lebanese authorities regularly announce the arrest or deportation of Syrians who enter the country illegally. They are also trying to combat irregular migration from Lebanon to neighboring Cyprus, a gateway to the European Union.

The central Mediterranean is the most dangerous migration route in the world, according to the International Organization for Migration. The UN agency estimates that since the beginning of 2023, 2.066 migrants have disappeared compared to 1.417 in the whole of 2022.