UNITED NATIONS — A report by Secretary-General Ban links a Qaeda-affiliated group in Lebanon to Syrian intelligence.
The information, included in a report released yesterday, is based largely on a letter to Mr. Ban written by Prime Minister Siniora of Lebanon. The letter draws upon information gathered during the interrogation of captured leaders of a group known as Fatah al-Islam, and from data found in a Palestinian Arab refugee camp in northern Lebanon, Nahr el-Bared, where the group mounted a rebellion against Lebanon’s government in the summer.
“Direct contact between some of Fatah al-Islam’s leaders and some senior Syrian intelligence officers, which were revealed in the interrogations, are consistent with the suspicion that Syrian intelligence has used Fatah al-Islam to serve its political and security objectives in Lebanon,” Mr. Siniora wrote, according to Mr. Ban’s report to the Security Council.
To substantiate his allegation Mr. Siniora cited, among other facts, the release from prison in Syria of Fatah al-Islam’s leader, Shaker Yousef al-Abssi, shortly before the riots in the Palestinian Arab camp began.
The fighting in Nahr el-Bared lasted 105 days and ended September 2, when Lebanon’s army declared victory over the group. About 168 Lebanese army soldiers and about 222 militants were killed in the fighting, according to Mr. Ban’s report, while thousands of the camp’s residents were displaced.
Over 200 members of the terrorist group, which is an ally of Al Qaeda, were arrested, but the report notes that the Lebanese victory may be incomplete, as Mr. Abssi was not captured. The report also accuses Syria of continuing illegal weapons deliveries to Hezbollah. Syria denied the allegations in a letter to Mr. Ban.