Lebanon has deported around 50 Syrians in the last two weeks, sending them to a war-torn country as anti-Syrian sentiment worsened due to the economic crisis, sources said today.
“The army has deported more than 50 Syrians from Lebanon over the past two weeks,” briefed an army official on condition of anonymity.
The Lebanese army’s intelligence unit targeted undocumented Syrians, the same sources said, arresting them and then handing them over to border guards who then deported them to Syria.
” The army’s detention centres are full “, and other security agencies have refused to accept the arrested refugees, the army official said. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians fled to neighbouring Lebanon after the civil war began in 2011 and a brutal crackdown on anti-regime protests.
According to the authorities, about two million Syrian refugees are on Lebanese soil. Almost 830,000 of them have been registered by the United Nations.
Lebanese authorities have not coordinated their efforts with Damascus, according to security and military officials, who added that some of the deported refugees returned to Lebanon with the help of traffickers who forced them to pay $100 each.
A humanitarian source stated that it had noticed an increase in military intelligence raids targeting Syrian communities in Beirut and the Mount Lebanon region since early April.
“In 2023, there were at least five raids,” said the source, who requested anonymity. About 450 Syrians have been arrested, and at least 66 of them have been confirmed deported, he said.
After the Damascus regime regained control of most of Syria, some host countries are trying to expel refugees who have taken refuge on their soil, citing the relative end of hostilities.
Since 2010, Lebanon has been plunged into an economic crisis which, according to the World Bank, is one of the worst in modern history.