Syria Opposition Urges Lebanon Not to Return 'Refugees Fleeing Assad Tyranny'

The opposition Syrian National Coalition on Monday urged Lebanese authorities not to turn back refugees fleeing the brutal war in the neighboring country and expressed its “intention to revise treaties” signed between Lebanon and Syria.

“We fully understand the unbearable burdens that this refugee influx inflicts on Lebanon at the demographic, economic, security and social levels,” the Coalition said in a “letter to the Lebanese people,” the third since the Syrian revolt started in March 2011.

“As the Lebanese state practices its rights and performs its duties, it must not allow that refugees fleeing the Assad regime's tyranny be handed over to it under one excuse or another,” the SNC added.

It said it extends its hand to the Lebanese government and concerned NGOs to “help alleviate Lebanon's burdens and the refugees' suffering.”

Separately, the Coalition said it intends to coordinate with the Lebanese government in order to “revise the treaties and agreements that were signed during the era of detestable hegemony over Lebanon.”

The SNC stressed that it will seek to establish “sound diplomatic relations between the two countries, to demarcate the border and to seriously look into the issue of Lebanese detainees and missing persons in order to resolve it in a clear, fair and satisfactory manner.”

“Our revolution does not need to use your Lebanese land in its battle (against the regime) and it is not using it,” the Coalition said in its letter, accusing “the criminal regime” of seeking to “reshuffle cards and gain time.”

And as the SNC condemned Hizbullah's military role in the Syrian conflict, it rejected “any retaliatory acts against our innocent brothers in Lebanon, whatever sect they may belong to.”

Eight non-governmental organizations have recently urged Lebanese authorities to “immediately stop the deportation” of Palestinian refugees fleeing war-stricken Syria.

Earlier in May, Human Rights Watch and a U.N. refugee agency expressed concern that Lebanon was blocking Palestinians fleeing Syria from entering the country.

UNRWA, the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, said it was "concerned about the increased restrictions on Palestine refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria from entering Lebanon."

HRW, meanwhile, criticized Lebanon for refusing entry to Palestinians from Syria and returning them to the war-torn country.

It accused Lebanese authorities of "arbitrarily" denying entry and documented the deportation of around 40 Palestinians accused of having forged documents.

Lebanese authorities have not announced a blanket ban on the entry of Palestinians from Syria, but government sources have confirmed a general policy to keep out Palestinians fleeing the conflict.

Lebanon is home to more than a million refugees from Syria giving it the highest refugee population per capita in the world.

On Friday, the government formed an emergency committee to deal with the Syrian refugee crisis.

The UNHCR's periodic report revealed last week that the number of Syrians who fled the war-torn country had reached 1,058,088.

The United Nations has called for gathering USD 1.89 billion to support Lebanon in dealing with the refugee crisis in 2014, but has only received USD 242 million of the total amount.



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