Lebanon Strengthens Electronic Surveillance Against Smuggling


The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) have activated a cross-country surveillance system to plug security gaps along the country’s border with Syria.

Smuggling and infiltration have been sufficiently serious that Lebanon has maintained four regiments on its northern and eastern borders since 2009. 

To shut down smuggling routes, LAF also established a network of electronic monitoring towers linked to the Joint Operations and Information Center at the Lebanese Army Command. The system allows permanent day and night monitoring, while providing early warning to mobile units dispatched to confront violators, said Gen. Joseph Haddad, the head of Lebanon’s Joint Border Security Committee.

Phase two of the plan, which began in November 2021, consists of integrating coastal surveillance radars to the inland monitoring towers. Haddad said the integrated system “plays the role of early warning in times of crisis.” 

LAF’s 1st Land Border Regiment (LBR) operates in the area from the Mediterranean Sea to the town of Wadi Khaled. The 2nd LBR is responsible for the upper half of Baalbek-Hermel’s frontier with Syria. The 3rd LBR operates in mountainous terrain near Rashaya, and the 4th LBR’s area of responsibility is the lower half of Baalbek-Hermel.    

Lebanon’s commitment to secure borders has drawn the support of international partners. United Kingdom Ambassador to Lebanon Ian Collard, U.S. Ambassador Dorothy Shea and Canadian Ambassador Chantal Chastenay met in November 2021 with Lebanese Army Chief Gen. Joseph Aoun to discuss Lebanese-Syrian border security.

“The discussions focused on the Lebanese Armed Forces’ mission to secure the entirety of the Lebanese-Syrian border and the challenges they are facing during Lebanon’s many crises,” the British Embassy announced.

During the meeting, Ambassador Collard announced the donation of $1.4 million to strengthen LAF’s resilience with spare parts for Land Rovers previously donated by the U.K. and protective personal equipment for female Soldiers deployed in border operations.

The British contribution followed a September 2021 announcement that the United States had provided $47 million in military aid to Lebanon.   

While briefing the United Nations Security Council in November 2021, U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Joanna Wronecka encouraged additional international support for the Lebanese Armed Forces and praised the critical role they play in safeguarding Lebanon’s security and stability. 

Sources: Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon, defensenews.com, arabweekly.com

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