Lebanese army stops 1,200 Syrian refugees from crossing into Lebanon
Caretaker Minister of Social Affairs, Hector Hajjar, holds the international community responsible for the influx of Syrian refugees into Lebanon, citing harsh sanctions on Syria as a causing factor.
The Lebanese army stopped 1,200 Syrian refugees this week aiming to turn them back to their home country after they attempted to illegally cross from Lebanon into Syria.
"As part of the fight against human trafficking and the illegal crossing of land borders, Lebanese army units intercepted 1,200 Syrians trying to illegally cross the Lebanese-Syrian border on different days this week," the Lebanese army said.
Lebanon's caretaker Minister of Social Affairs Hector Hajjar told Sputnik that Western unilateral sanctions against Syria are pushing its citizens to leave their country as they are deprived of their livelihoods.
Hajjar emphasized that the international community bears the consequences of the new wave of refugees in Lebanon.
"Any negative pressure on Syria will cause instability in every part of the world as, by leaving Syria through Lebanon, they are reaching Europe. The US and European blockade of the Syrian state and sanctions deprive the Syrian people of their livelihood and are the main reason why Syrians continue to flee their country through the available exits, mainly through Lebanon," Hajjar told Sputnik.
The caretaker minister revealed that Lebanese authorities are looking into new measures to limit the Syrian refugee influx into Lebanon.
"There are several recommendations, including calls to intensify a rapid political dialogue with Damascus, appeals to the Lebanese prime minister. It is necessary to name those who will lead this dialogue from the Lebanese side in order to develop an approach to solving the problem," Hajjar said.
He added that Lebanese authorities are aware of human trafficking networks from Syria and that security forces are coordinating with the Syrian state.
In a recent statement, the minister emphasized the gravity of the issue concerning the illegal influx of individuals from Syria into Lebanon, highlighting its profound implications for both nations, including the potential infiltration of individuals with malicious intent, which could pose a significant security threat within Lebanon.
Given that Lebanon shares an extensive land border of more than 350 kilometers (217 miles) with Syria, the ease of access for refugees to cross this border has become a pertinent concern.
Just this week, Fadi Alameh, the head of the Lebanese parliamentary committee on foreign affairs and displaced persons, sounded an alarm regarding a looming surge in Syrian refugee displacement into Lebanon.
Furthermore, the Lebanese military reported its successful interception of nearly 850 Syrians attempting illegal border crossings in the past week alone.
It is worth noting that, back in July, the European Parliament adopted a resolution pertaining to Lebanon, asserting that the conditions for the voluntary and dignified return of long-term Syrian refugees to conflict-prone areas in Syria were not yet met.
Lebanese security agencies estimate that over 2 million Syrians currently reside in Lebanon, with a significant portion lacking legal status. In contrast, the UN Refugee Agency has documentation on approximately 840,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
Lebanese authorities have accused international organizations of impeding the standard procedures for the repatriation of refugees to their home country. They have also cautioned that the continued presence of two million Syrians within a nation already grappling with a severe financial and economic crisis, and boasting a population of approximately 4.5 million, only serves to exacerbate social tensions and contributes to an upswing in crime and poverty rates.