BEIRUT, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- Lebanon's security forces had thwarted the smuggling of Syrian refugees by sea to Cyprus, a security source told Xinhua on Sunday.
The source said the incident happened a few days ago. Members of the network involved in the smuggling were arrested. Owner of one of the boats and 25 Syrian refugees were also arrested off the coast of Tripoli, one of Lebanon's big cities, before moving to Cyprus.
The source added that Lebanese maritime army saw a captain trying to hide his boat on the eve of the operation in one of the sea coves located in the touristic Rabbit Island.
The island is a natural reserve located 5 kilometers off Tripoli where no one is allowed to stay at night.
According to the source, the captain of the boat admitted that he was waiting for Syrian refugees who were planning to escape to Cyprus by sea.
Security forces rushed to arrest refugees, who included children, women and men, at the point of their gathering on the beach near the fish market in Tripoli.
The source said that Cyprus has become the destination of maritime smuggling from Lebanon for Syrian refugees to move to other European countries.
The Lebanese army said on Saturday that they rescued 30 drowning Syrian refugees trying to escape Lebanon illegally off Akkar shore and one syrian baby died.