Two members of the Isis terror organisation were arrested in the north-eastern Hermel governorate on, February 16th, a National News Agency (NNA) field correspondent reported. The arrest came after the Army Intelligence Unit began its investigations and pursuit operation, the correspondent added. “One of the arrestees was alleged to be the terror group's "Emir",” a NNA statement confirmed.
Hermel is a traditional victim of government negligence and poor security conditions.
Although weapons are not visible in the streets, they are seen in densely
populated villages, whether for the security of certain clan and tribal figures or for other personalities who are well-known to the residents, most of whom are said to be senior drug traffickers.
The governorate hosts a predominantly Shia majority with pockets of Christians and Sunnis. Bekaa governorate hosts a more diverse group of religious sects, namely Christian, Sunni, Shia and Druze - with no absolute majority. Lack of trust in the state is a common sentiment among the residents.
The Bekaa valley region, which includes Hermel, is home to 338,577 registered Syrian refugees, as the region covers most of Lebanon’s 375 km border with Syria. With more than half of its population being refugees, the region is one of the most affected by the Syrian crisis.
Until August 2017, Lebanon’s north-eastern border was the site of sporadic armed clashes between the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and extremist armed factions. Some border towns were also subject to suicide bombings and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). This impacted the humanitarian response as security forces restricted the access of humanitarian actors and aid operations in the area, enacted Syrian-only curfews and put hundreds of Syrians into detention following raids on the informal settlements.