BAALBEK, Lebanon: The Lebanese Army Friday arrested five Syrians suspected of having ties to terrorist groups in the Bekaa Valley border town of Arsal, amid a crackdown following a series of violent incidents over drug disputes or rivalry between pro- and anti-Assad men.
In a statement, the military said it detained a Syrian identified as Zaher Abed-Aziz for allegedly belonging to the Al-Qaeda-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades. He was residing in a Syrian refugee site.
Soldiers also detained four Syrians identified as Nour Shamseddie, Haytham Nader Ghannoum, Adel Sleiman Ghannoum and Mohammad Nazih Ghannoum on suspicion of training with terrorist groups.
The Army confiscated computers, CDs and cameras that were in the possession of the suspects.
Investigation is underway with the suspects and they will be referred to the judiciary, the Army said.
Security sources in the Bekaa Valley said the arrests were made during a raid at a Syrian refugee site near Arsal. They identified the detainees as being members of the Syrian opposition who had taken part in the war in Syria's Qalamoun region before fleeing into Arsal.
Meanwhile, Lebanese troops, backed by two helicopter gunships, intensified patrols near the border with Syria.
A security source in Beirut told The Daily Star earlier that the patrols were centered around the outskirts of Arsal and nearby ravines as well as the edges of Ras Baalbek.
The Army has also fortified its checkpoints in the Bekaa Valley, according to the source.
The source said the Army measures came after reports of repeated shootings and kidnappings, the latest of which was when unidentified assailants opened fire at a Syrian refugee center bordering Arsal, killing a man and wounding another.
Two other men were kidnapped in the shooting late Wednesday evening.
The Army action also came as authorities warned of the repercussions of the Iraq crisis on Lebanon.
Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi said Thursday that the Cabinet would summon military and security chiefs to discuss the possible impact of the fast-moving developments in Iraq on the security situation in Lebanon.