Protests in northwestern Syria, Lebanon, against Beirut's expulsion of Syrian refugees

Protests in northwestern Syria, Lebanon, against Beirut's expulsion of Syrian refugees
Protesters denounced Lebanon's forced deportation of Syrian refugees as a 'war crime', warning that their return to Syria could result in their arrest, torture, or murder by the Syrian regime.
2 min read
29 April, 2023
Syrians forcibly returned to their country face persecution at the hands of the regime [Getty]

Protests took place in Lebanon and in rebel-held northwestern Syria on Friday against Beirut's targeting and deporting of Syrian refugees.

Hundreds of people rallied in the centre of the Syrian city of Idlib in a demonstration organised by human rights activists, local politicians and media workers, after the deportation of dozens of Syrians from Lebanon earlier this month following raids on their homes in various parts of the country.

Protesters said returning the refugees to Syria could result in their arrest, torture or murder by the Syrian regime.

"After previously witnessing individual racist campaigns against Syrian refugees, deportation campaigns are now taking a systematic character by the state," political activist Radwan al-Atrash told The New Arab's Arabic-language sister site, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

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In the northern Lebanon city of Tripoli, hundreds of protestors took to the streets to denounce the deportations.

Several banners reading "With God, there are no Syrians, Lebanese or Palestinians. With God, a Muslim is the brother of a Muslim" were placed in the city's neighbourhoods.

The demonstrations in Tripoli and Idlib came a day after a statement was issued by a number of Syrian activists, politicians, parties, and civil society groups condemning the "forced deportations".

The joint statement warned that Syria was unsafe for civilians to return to, adding that the groups are monitoring the escalation of hate speech against Syrians in Lebanon.

It was signed by the Syrian Network for Human Rights, the Action Group for Afrin, the Syrian Yazidi Council, the Syrian Women's Political Movement, the Syrian Democratic People's Party, the Union of Revolution Coordinators, and other political parties, groups and individuals.

Lebanon is home to several hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees, and Beirut has long threatened to deport Syrians from the country.