Wed, Jun 06 2007
Long convoys of cargo trucks are queuing at the Masnaa border crossing on the eastern Lebanese frontier after the closure of the Arida and Dabbousieh checkpoints in north Lebanon. Dozens of transit commercial trucks on Saturday and Sunday were waiting for their turn to cross the border into Syria, As Safir newspaper said.
The northern frontier was closed following heavy gun-battles between the Lebanese army and Fatah al-Islam militants in the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared. As Safir said the crisis was likely to worsen with the number of stranded trucks expected to rise if the northern border crossings remained closed.
The daily, which accused authorities of not moving to contain the problem, said Masnaa cannot absorb a large number of trucks. Syria always uses the borders to twist the arms of the Lebanese. This is not the first time that Lebanon - Syria borders becomes a major issue for truckers. The Syrians have always used the borders to twist the arms of the Lebanese.
In 2005 , following the assassination of Lebanon's prime minister Rafik Hariri, Syria closed the borders with Lebanon, because the Lebanese accused the Syrian regime of being responsible for his assassination. 10 days ago when the fighting between Fatah al-Islam militants and the Lebanese army erupted , Syria closed the borders in the north of Lebanon, because the Lebanese accused the Syrians of supporting the militants.
Many analysts in Lebanon have been calling for bypassing the Syrian borders altogether by using the sea as the mode of transportation of Lebanon's exports. These analysts think that Syria is not a reliable partner and therefore Lebanon cannot depend on it for exporting its agricultural products. Lebanese agricultural products according to analysts are in big demand in the Middle East Gulf region due to heir quality, unique flavor and excellent taste, but Syria has always been the obstacle in trying to bring these products to the markets on timely basis.