Lebanese army detains Syrians in border town

Security sources say Lebanon has detained about 450 suspected fighters near its border with Syria over past two weeks.

Activists in Arsal distributed pictures of the army detaining suspected fighters

Lebanese soldiers have carried out raids in the border town of Arsal, detaining dozens of Syrian men suspected of involvement in attacks on the Lebanese army.

An army statement said three suspects were injured after troops opened fire at men setting part of an informal refugee camp ablaze during Thursday’s raids.

The raids came as the army steps up efforts to prevent fighters from using Arsal – housing tens of thousands of refugees – as a base.

Last month, the town was the scene of the deadliest spillover of fighting in the three-year civil war in Syria. During clashes that killed dozens, rebels captured a group of Lebanese soldiers and have since killed at least three of them.

They are believed to be holding more than a dozen others. Among the rebels’ demands to release the soldiers are protection of refugees and the release of prisoners belonging to the groups held in Lebanon.

The head of military intelligence in Bekaa told Al Jazeera that “less than 100” people were detained on Thursday.

Security sources said that Lebanon had detained about 450 suspected fighters near its border with Syria over the past two weeks.

The detainees are mainly Syrians accused of being members of groups such as the Nusra Front, Syria’s al-Qaeda wing, which is fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

Fighters often cross the border, using Arsal to rest or seek medical treatment, and the town also hosts tens of thousands of refugees who have fled from violence in Syria.

Lebanon has been divided over the war in its neighbouring country, with many Sunnis supporting the opposition and others supporting the regime.

The Lebanese army has been accused of working with Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia movement which has sent fighters to help Assad’s forces.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies