The Syrians, who had paid "large sums of money," were flown largely from Beirut to Frankfurt, Duesseldorf, Munich and Amsterdam, using forged visas to get through passport checks in the Lebanese capital, prosecutor Peter Fritzen said. They applied for asylum on arrival.
Investigators are looking into 26 attempts at trafficking people, 10 of which were prevented when authorities intercepted the forged visas and people were turned back in Beirut. The suspects arrested Thursday were two members of a Lebanese family that has lived for years in the German town of Bitburg. Authorities were trying to track down two other suspects, and were also investigating other alleged offenses including theft.