Lebanese army stops 600 Syrians from entering country
The Lebanese Army announced on Wednesday that it had stopped 600 Syrians from illegally crossing into the country this month, as migration from Syria continues in elevated numbers due to its economic crisis and unstable security conditions.
Lebanon's army has previously called on increased international support to combat what it said were "thousands" of Syrians attempting to cross into Lebanon over the summer.
At the peak in August, over 1,000 Syrians were stopped in a week from entering Lebanon illegally by the Lebanese army.
The increased number of Syrians fleeing the country comes as Syria’s four-year-long economic crisis reaches new lows and security conditions continue to degrade across the country.
Degrading living conditions sparked protests in Syria’s south in late August, particularly in Druze-majority Suweida province, and have continued until today.
Many Syrians crossing into Lebanon use it as a transit point before trying to cross by sea to Europe.
The surge in Syrian migration into the EU has in particular affected Cyprus, which along with Italy and Greece, has become the first destination for Syrians leaving Lebanon.
In late September, Cyprus asked the EU to increase funding to Lebanon to help it prevent Syrians from departing from the country via the Mediterranean.
Cyprus’s Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou called Lebanon a "barrier" preventing refugees from entering Europe.
"If Lebanon collapses, then all of Europe will have a problem," Ioannou said.
Lebanon also stepped up deportations of Syrians starting in April, in a move widely condemned by human rights organisations.
Human rights monitors have emphasised that Syria is still not safe for refugee returns, citing security forces’ persecution of returnees, including the use of torture and forced disappearance.