BEIRUT: A mayor of a Metn town said in remarks published Saturday that authorities had detained 13 Syrians during a raid earlier this week on several buildings housing refugees.
"In Dikwaneh, there are over 1,000 Syrians living in three separate buildings, which were raided and [security forces] arrested 13 suspects," Antoine Shakhtoura told Ash-Sharq al-Awsat.
He said there were approximately 10,000 Syrians in the district.
The mayor said the municipality had taken measures to control and monitor the presence of refugee, including imposing a curfew on them and monitoring Syrian refugee gathering locations.
"We also patrol the streets at the night to arrest those who breach security,” he said, adding that this included common criminals and not necessarily terror suspects.
"But 80 percent of Syrians in Dikwaneh are 23 years old at the most, and the majority are single with no families. Therefore, they are capable of carrying arms and fighting if there is a plan as such.”
Security sources told The Daily Star Tuesday that the detainees possessed photos of Syrian battlefields stored in their cellphones.
The raids were made in light of the last week’s clashes in Arsal, which pitted the Lebanese Army against militants from Syria, some of whom resided in informal refugee camps in the border region.
The fighting raised concerns about refugee gatherings scattered across the country, particularly in the Metn region, the source said.