Lebanese town threatens to expel Syrians in discriminatory coronavirus restrictions for Eid

Lebanese town threatens to expel Syrians in discriminatory coronavirus restrictions for Eid
Syrian residents of a south Lebanon town could get exiled for visiting family members during Eid, while no measures were imposed on their Lebanese neighbours.
2 min read
24 May, 2020
According to estimates, over one million Syrian refugees live in Lebanon [Getty]
A town in Lebanon's Nabatieh district has issued a municipal statement warning its "brotherly" Syrian residents against Eid al-Fitr visits, threatening expulsion.

Eid, a normally festive holiday, marks the end of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan and is characterised by family get-togethers and lavish daytime feasts.

In a statement released on Friday, the Doueir municipality introduced new restrictions for Eid aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus. 

"We call on all the Syrian brothers residing in this town to refrain from visits outside of the town. We also ask them to not host any visitors, regardless of the reason," Doueir mayor Mohammad Fadlallah Qanso said. 

"Whoever goes against this decision will be expelled from the town immediately, to ensure your health and the health of our people in this town. We hope for your adherance and cooperation," Qanso said in the official statement.

Lebanese social media users called out the southern municipality for it's "racist" decision and said the virus does not discriminate based on nationality.

"Is it that Syrians transmit the virus during Eid while the Lebanese... transmit love? #Racism. What applies to Lebanese should apply to Syrians and vice versa. Every attempt to defend this decision is unjustified," Rawad Taha said.

The municipality's eid restriction is not the first discriminatory coronavirus measure to be imposed by local Lebanese authorities. In April, the Human Rights Watch warned of Lebanese municipalities targetting Syrians in their anti-coronavirus campaigns.

The report said at least 21 municipalities had introduced discriminatory restrictions on Syrian refugees that do not apply to Lebanese residents.

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