Defected Syrian pilot detained in Lebanon - It's Over 9000!

Defected Syrian pilot detained in Lebanon

BEIRUT – Lebanese security forces have arrested a defected pilot from Syria’s armed forces, the latest detention of a Syrian opponent of the Bashar al-Assad regime.

Lebanon’s state National News Agency reported Friday that a State Security patrol detained Lieutenant Colonel Hassan Khaled al-Haloush in the northeastern Jdaideh-Al-Fakiha area, which lies near the Syrian border.

During his interrogation, Al-Haloush revealed that he had illegally entered the country. The defected pilot was then transferred to the relevant judicial authorities.

Lebanese security forces in past years have controversially detained a number of defected Syrian officers and activists.

In mid-May 2015, Lebanese army intelligence arrested Syrian army colonel Walid Ahmad Aydan in Labweh, another northeastern border town, without issuing an official explanation for his detention.

ARA News cited corroborative human rights sources as saying that Aydan was residing legally in Lebanon and had been on the way to Beirut to visit family members when he was arrested.

The sources told the Syrian outlet that all of the defected colonel’s papers were “in order and issued by Lebanon’s General Security.”

“He was on his way from Arsal to Beirut to meet his children before [leaving] Lebanon.”

In turn, Syrian human rights activist Mohammed Wajdi told ARA News he believed Aydan’s detention may have been no more than a routine procedure.

Meanwhile, the Lebanese Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (LIFE) called on Lebanese army intelligence “to release Colonel Walid [Aydan] and refrain from arresting defected Syrian officers.”

“They are not wanted under Lebanese judicial warrants and have committed no criminal or terrorist acts that necessitate their prosecution.”

Aydan’s arrest comes after Lebanese army intelligence in late March briefly detained Maan Abdul Salam, a leading Syrian dissident and intellectual who took refuge in Beirut following the outbreak of the war in his country.

In October 2014, State Security in the southern town of Damour arrested a former officer on charges of “inciting against the Lebanese army” on Facebook.

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