On Friday morning, Syrian Security Forces discovered a militant sleeper cell in the Tartous Governorate that was used to house fighters and supplies in preparation for future criminal activity. The sleeper cell was revealed by the Syrian Air Force Intelligence, who traced their activity from Syria’s coastal provinces of Tartous to Latakia.

The militant group, “Liwaa Al-Saahel” (AKA “Coastal Brigades”), operated in the provinces of Latakia and Tartous, concentrating their small organization near Syrian Government institutions in order to carry out attacks on notable civilians and officials; this was the first time the Syrian Security Forces confronted this militant group.

A total of 17 militants from Liwaa Al-Saahel were arrested by the Syrian Security Forces, including 2 members that were identified as Lebanese nationals. Among their possessions were C-4 explosives, rockets, semi-automatic weapons, ammunition, approximately $5,000 (U.S.), forged passports, and narcotics.

According to a security source, the militant group made money by plundering Syrian antiquities and selling them to fund their operations inside Syria. The source further added that a wanted criminal was arrested along with the militants from Liwaa Al-Saahel.

This is the first time in almost 2 years that any kind of criminal activity was reported from the Tartous Governorate; it was considered Syria’s safest province, with almost 2 million displaced civilians now inhabiting this beautiful coastal area.

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