In Lebanon, desertions from the army are on the increase

Lebanese army soldiers inspect a gas station as the fuel crisis worsens in Sidon on August 14, 2021. REUTERS - AZIZ TAHER

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2 min

The army and security forces are the last bulwark against the security chaos in Lebanon, hit by an unprecedented crisis that affects all aspects of daily life.

But the mission of the troops is more and more difficult with the multiplication of desertions.

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With our correspondent in Beirut,

Paul Khalifeh

An army and military police patrol on Monday raided the southern suburbs of Beirut, a Hezbollah stronghold, in search of a deserter. 

A few hours earlier, the Minister of the Interior, Mohammad Fahmi, warned against the increase in desertions within the security forces.

The number of soldiers and police who have not returned to their posts is kept secret by the staffs.

Security sources mention several hundred defections since the worsening of the socio-economic crisis in recent weeks.

The soldiers, including officers, take advantage of the permissions to leave permanently abroad or stay in Lebanon without joining their units.

Falling wages and increasing violence

The salary of a soldier is now worth 70 dollars and that of an officer starts at 150 dollars, ten times less than before the crisis.

The army is increasingly called upon to contain the

outbreaks of violence 

which are increasing all over the country due to the total collapse.

Last weekend, she intervened to restore calm after violent clashes accompanied by acts of vandalism between two localities, Christian and Shiite, 40 kilometers south of Beirut.

To curb desertions, the army has reduced permissions, tightened sanctions and is trying to provide a minimum living for the military.

► Read also: Lebanon on the brink of a double water and food crisis

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  • Lebanon

  • Defense

  • Economic crisis

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