Syrian refugees 'tortured' during Lebanese military raid on Arsal camps

Syrian refugees 'tortured' during Lebanese military raid on Arsal camps
Activists say that Syrian men at a refugee camp that was raided by Lebanese military have been beaten and tents torn down by troops and 'Hizballah fighters'.
2 min read
01 July, 2017
Syrian refugees were arrested in a Lebanese military raid [Anadolu]

Syrian men have been beaten and humiliated during a raid by Lebanese troops at a refugee camp on Friday according to activists, in camps that have been a flashpoint for fighting between the army and jihadi militants.

One photo showed refugees tightly packed into the back of a van was widely shared on social media, with signs of beating or torture inflicted on the men following the raids on camps outside Arsal, close to the Syrian border. 

Several men can be seen shirtless or wearing torn clothes with blood and fresh bruises on their back.

Another photo shows around two dozen lying face down on the ground with their hands tied behind their shirtless backs.

Activists claim the raid on the Arsal camps resulted in the death of 20 Syrian refugees, including children, with tents torn down and around 350 people arrested.

Beirut said one child was killed and seven Lebanese troops injured when militants based in the camps detonated bombs and threw grenades at troops during the raid.

Five militants detonated bomb belts while a sixth threw a grenade at the military with a girl aged two-and-a-half dying from her wounds.

The Lebanese army raid was designed to "arrest terrorists" and "seize weapons," an army commander told AFP.

"The objective of the operation was to arrest a wanted man and it was this man who was the first to blow himself up."

Arsal has been a hot bed of militant activity with Syrian rebels crossing the border into eastern Lebanon - along with thousands of civilians - throughout the six-year war.

Among the militant groups active in the area are al-Qaeda and Islamic State-linked militias who were responsible for the kidnapp and killing of a number of Lebanese soldiers.

The Syrian National Coalition - an opposition body - has called on Beirut to exercise restraint and protect refugees.

"The National Coalition strongly condemns the systematic attacks today against refugee camps in Arsal... during which (refugees) were humiliated and treated like hostages," the coalition said.

Some activists claimed Hizballah fighters were among the raiding party. The Lebanese Shia militant group are fierce opponents of the Syrian rebels and have engaged in occassional skirmishes with fighters near Arsal.

Thousands of Hizballah fighters are thought to be backing Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria