On Sunday, the Lebanese army intercepted four Syrian nationals at the borders trying to smuggle a large number of subsidized items from Lebanon.
The now arrested suspects had two cars loaded with products that are supported by the Lebanese Ministry of Economy and set at reduced prices to help residents through the economic crisis.
According to the head of the Syndicate of Supermarket Owners in Lebanon, Nabil Fahd, there are gangs pulling subsidized goods from supermarkets in order to smuggle them out of the country and sell them abroad.
This has already been happening with Lebanese subsidized goods like coffee, labneh, cheese, and rice which have been outrageously found in Turkey, Sweden, Nigeria, Kuwait, and the Ivory Coast.
It is a must to mention that these smuggling operations into crisis-ridden Syria are not meant to bring humanitarian relief to the Syrian population. They are profiteering enterprises by organized gangs.
The Lebanese subsidized items are scarce for residents of Lebanon, which, in addition, has been sheltering 1.7 million refugees, 1.5 million of whom are from Syria.
The situation in Lebanon is as bad that the country has even witnessed fights break out in supermarkets over items like milk, sugar, and oil. Moreover, due to rationing, markets are normally not allowing people to purchase more than 1 unit of the same item that is supported by the state.
In an interview with Reuters, caretaker Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni recently warned that the Lebanese government must begin lifting subsidies and rationing its foreign currency reserves or it will run out of money for basic imports by the end of May.