The Daily Star (Lebanon)
Army commander, naval forces talk maritime borders
BEIRUT: Lebanese Army Commander Gen. Joseph Aoun and Naval leadership met to discuss border control Thursday in the wake of a series of unauthorized migration incidents off the coast of Lebanon, a statement from the Army reported.
Aoun spoke of the Navy’s role in protecting Lebanon’s territorial waters and discussed possible solutions to eliminate unauthorized sea migration. The commander “saluted the Navy’s efforts in combating acts of smuggling and protecting the border and Lebanese oil from Israeli ambitions,” the statement quoted Aoun as saying.
“The biggest challenge the Army faces is border protection. Maritime borders are continuously seeing attempts to smuggle people and illegal items,” he added.
Their meeting comes after Cypriot police said Tuesday that 17 Syrian migrants who set sail from Lebanon aboard a small craft declared their intention to apply for asylum on the east Mediterranean island nation.
And earlier in October, 32 people were rescued off Lebanon’s coast when a UNIFIL marine force intercepted a boat that was heading to Cyprus. “The boat was out of fuel and the passengers had been without food and water for four days,” a UNIFIL statement said at the time.
Many Syrian refugees in Lebanon have sought asylum in Cyprus. The island has claimed there was a 40 percent increase in Syrian applicants claiming asylum in the first five months of this year. –