Refugee Crisis: Lebanese Army arrests 500 Syrian refugees

Lebanese Army arrests 500 Syrian refugees

About 500 Syrian refugees in Lebanon were arrested by the Lebanese Army. They were arrested on Wednesday under many charges following the bombs which took place in the border city al-Qaa two days before, Sham News Network (SNN) said. 

The S.N.N. added that two days before this dragnet, 314 Syrian refugees were arrested. The Lebanese Army continues the campaign till Thursday adding 198 Syrians to the list. It is expected that this dragnet will continue in the coming few days.

The Lebanese official media agency said that the Lebanese Army swooped on every Syrian refugees’ neighborhood. It is also imposed a day-to-light curfew.

On Wednesday, the Lebanese Army arrested 12 in Bar Elias, 12 in Hosh al-Omara, 15 in Jezin and al-Dahieh, 3 in Hadat, and only one in al-Bshuriah to the north east of the country. There have been reports about arresting 155 across the Lebanese cities.

These measures came after 8 bombs in the border city, al-Qaa. Without any evidence of any Syrian refugees’ involvement in that incident. Exactly as what the Lebanese interior minister Nohad Machnouk assured. Machnouk emphasized that the bombers came through Syria, so they are not among those who are living in Lebanon.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, in which eight bombers killed five people. Two of the attackers blew themselves up near a church.

“The movement of the Syrian refugees should be controlled and monitored through permits given by the security apparatuses after they are gathered in one camp,” parliament member Walid Sukariyeh, who belongs to a Hezbollah political bloc, told local radio.

It is worthy to mention that these bombs came after a statement by the Lebanese foreign affairs minister; Gebran Bassil who refused the presence of Syrian refugees in areas which under the Free Patriotic Movement led by Michel Aoun, one of Assad and Hezbollah backers.

Bassil has also previously said that the Syrian refugees resemble a threat to Lebanon.

Nadim Houry, Middle East deputy director for Human Rights Watch, said he was concerned about a potentially harsh response to Monday’s attacks by Lebanon’s military. Syrian refugees have been caught in security forces’ wide dragnet following previous attacks, with some mistreated and tortured, he said.

“That is a concern and it comes amid a populist political discourse that is trying to present the refugees as the source of all ill,” he added. “It’s not about whether the army should be doing anything, of course they should do something to protect the people. It’s how they go about doing it, and are they being effective.”