The Lebanese Army Directorate of Intelligence issued a statement on Sunday, detailing a successful operation whereby more than 20 people held hostages in Lebanese territory were rescued.
After collecting information about the abduction of Syrian nationals in Brital (in the Baalbek-Hermel Governorate), a Special Forces unit in the Army Intelligence raided the locations wherein the criminals were holding the hostages.
In two separate hideouts in Brital, the armed gang held 23 men, women, and children with the intent of using them to demand a ransom. By the time the Army Intelligence freed them, the victims had been in captivity for 15 days.
“During the raid,” the statement said, “the patrol came under fire. One of the kidnappers, of Syrian nationality, nicknamed ‘Al-Shaqour,’ was wounded and the other was arrested (H.B) and is a Lebanese national.”
The statement explained that the Syrian kidnapper died shortly after being hospitalized for treatment, and the Lebanese one is being interrogated under the supervision of the competent judiciary.
After the rescue, the Lebanese Army posted a picture of the captives, who, the statement said, all turned out in good health. The army also posted a picture of the computers, phones, IDs, weapons, and other equipment confiscated from the captors.
Notably, between 2011 and 2015, i.e. following the beginning of the Syrian civil war, the Lebanese Army focused its units along Lebanon’s borders with Syria.
This resulted in security gaps in some of the municipalities of Beqaa. In turn, this provided an opening for drug lords and other gangs and criminals to operate more easily.
However, after the fighting ceased at the borders, the Army redeployed its forces to local areas and reset its focus on combating local crimes, of which the Brital kidnapping is the latest instance.