Hussein Darwish wrote in Asharq Al-Awsat:
A fuel depot on the border with Syria in northeastern Lebanon exploded at dawn yesterday, which is the second explosion of its kind since the beginning of this year, which reopens the file of smuggling of materials supported by the “Banque du Liban” to Syria.
An explosion reverberated in a petrol tank in the Fisan border area near the town of Al Qasr, near a gas station. But it is noteworthy that the large capacity of the fuel tank, amounting to 10 thousand liters, indicates that it was originally intended for smuggling fuel from Lebanese territory towards Syrian territory.
Field sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the smuggling tanks were mainly made for the storage and smuggling of fuel, and were placed in areas of open land.
These tanks were mainly made for storing diesel, but Syria’s need for petrol prompted smugglers to change their use. The sources suggested that the explosion was a result of friction due to the operations of suctioning and withdrawing gasoline by pumps by the manual method, especially as they are constantly exposed to cold weather at night and hot at times of day.
Yesterday’s tank explosion is not the first explosion in the smuggling areas. Another explosion, bigger than this explosion two weeks ago, occurred in warehouses of diesel, gas and petrol bottles, and caused a huge bang, and the flames rose tens of meters long, and the sounds of explosions continued until the next morning due to the ignition of flasks. Gas inside the warehouse.
While the first explosion occurred 8 meters from the border, and burned a smuggling depot near Saqia Jousse on the Syrian side, the explosion took place yesterday, about 500 meters from the Syrian border, inside Lebanese territory.
These explosions opened the file of smuggling again, and a field source in the Bekaa told Asharq Al-Awsat that gas bottles that were lost from the border areas of Hermel are sold at double prices by smugglers inside the Syrian territories, and a gasoline canister smuggled from Lebanese lands to the Syrian interior is also sold on a line Homs at more than fifty thousand Lebanese pounds ($ 12 at the market exchange rate), while its price is half that of the Lebanese interior.
The smuggling of gallons on motorcycles has been active recently, after the Lebanese military forces closed the borders to trucks and illegal smuggling crossings. Each motorcycle can carry about 200 liters of fuel during its journey from the Lebanese interior to the Syrian interior, and in order to pass the water wheel easily, a wooden board can be placed over the water wheel to enable it to cross.
The fight against smuggling is still the subject of constant demands by the political forces in Lebanon, led by the Progressive Socialist Party and the Lebanese Forces, calling on the Lebanese security forces to close the borders permanently and pursue the smugglers.