- The Media Line - https://themedialine.org -

U.N.: Syrian Intelligence Still in Lebanon

Officials from the United Nations say Syria has not withdrawn all of its intelligence forces from the neighboring Lebanon.

Syria’s intelligence network was Damascus’ primary means of influencing Lebanese political and economic life during the Syrian presence in Lebanon.

Syria claims it finished withdrawing all its forces out of the neighboring Lebanon on Tuesday, ending a 29-year presence in the country.

The pullout was marked with a widely televised ceremony and was welcomed by the international community as Syria pulled out the last of its 14,000 troops from Lebanon.

However, officials from the Lebanese opposition and from U.N. member states told the U.N. that Syria’s military intelligence is still in Lebanon, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan told the Security Council in a report on Tuesday.

The report said that Syrian and pro-Syrian officials in Beirut deny these allegations.

A spokesman for the United States State Department said Damascus is not completely complying with U.N. Resolution 1559, sponsored by the U.S. and France, which requires foreign troops to leave Lebanon.

The U.N. will send a new team to Lebanon this week in order to get a better and more accurate picture of what is really happening there.

It is believed that some intelligence forces have inserted themselves into Lebanese society in a way that will be difficult to detect them.

On Tuesday, president of the Washington-based Reform Party of Syria Farid Ghadry told The Media Line that some 5,000 members of Syria’s security system have obtained Lebanese citizenship to integrate into the country and make their exposure more difficult. He said this was confirmed by Lebanon’s former pro-Syrian Interior Minister Elias Murr.