Lebanese TV presenter launches on-air xenophobic tirade against Syrians

Lebanese TV presenter launches on-air xenophobic tirade against Syrians
Lebanese TV personality Dalia Ahmad kicked off at Syrian refugees on her weekly TV show, saying there are no longer enough resources to accommodate them in Lebanon
3 min read
20 July, 2022
There are over 1.5 million Syrian refugees living in Lebanon [Getty]

A Lebanese TV presenter has sparked yet another discussion on the position of Syrian refugees in the country after going off on a xenophobic tirade on her show.

Dalia Ahmed, who is of Sudanese origin, urged Syrian refugees to leave Lebanon on her show 'Fashet Kheleq', which airs every Friday evening on Lebanon’s Al-Jadeed TV channel.

She began by discussing the economic crisis in Lebanon, telling Syrian refugees to stop "criticising the bankrupt country which is facing emigration."

She condemned Syrians for not being appreciative of Lebanon, which she says "welcomed the Syrian people for 11 years" and was able to host them when the economy allowed them to.

Ahmad then said Lebanon can no longer afford to accommodate Syrian refugees and urged them to leave the country.

Earlier this year, Ahmad was a target of racial abuse spearheaded by Hezbollah supporters after she criticised the group's supreme leader Hassan Nasrallah.

There are over 1.5 million Syrian refugees living in Lebanon, most of whom fled the country's brutal regime and Russian assaults on opposition-held towns in Syria.

Officials say the influx has cost Lebanon billions of dollars and further damaged its crippled infrastructure while it struggles with a financial meltdown.

NGOs have reported many incidents of discrimination against Syrians, including withholding pay, assaults, and other abuses.

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Syrian refugees face severe restrictions in all facets of life, and often face discrimination at the hands of official bodies. Their presence in the country is a domestic hot topic, with much of the country's ills blamed on them. In one extreme example, Lebanese media even claimed Syrian refugees were behind a rise in cancer cases in the country.

Earlier this month, Lebanese officials proposed a plan where 15,000 Syrian refugees a month would be returned to Syria in cooperation with the brutal Assad regime.

Lebanon's Minister of Displaced Affairs, Issam Sharaf el-Din, said that it was "totally unacceptable that displaced Syrians do not return to Syria after the war ended and it became safe."

Yet rights monitors like Human Rights Watch (HRW), have consistently warned that Syria is not safe for refugee return. In a report released in October 2021, HRW found that refugees who returned faced arbitrary arrest and detention, torture, death, sexual violence and enforced disappearances.

Syrian refugees are among the most affected by Lebanon's economic crisis, dubbed "one of the world's worst" by the World Bank.

The New Arab has contacted Al-Jadeed TV for comment.