Lebanese authorities have recently arrested and deported hundreds of Syrian refugees, including over the Eid holiday, despite constant warnings from the UNHCR and human rights groups about the danger of systemic reprisals by the Assad regime. Activists have warned that refugees regularly face torture, rape, and murder upon return to Syria. The refugees were handed over to Assad’s military on the border, placing them back in the hands of the regime from which they fled. Amnesty International has criticized the Lebanese authorities for knowingly putting Syrian refugees at risk of persecution, calling their actions a violation of “non-refoulement legislation” and the International Convention Against Torture.
Over the last two weeks, coinciding with the final days of Ramadan and the Eid holiday, Lebanese officials and security forces, including the military, have arrested and forcefully returned Syrian refugees to Assad-controlled Syrian territory. Lebanese military sources have stated that around 450 refugees were arrested with at least 66 confirmed cases of deportation. According to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR), at least 39 Syrian refugees were arrested by the Assad regime following their forceful expulsion from Lebanon.
Lebanon hosts over a million Syrian refugees, with 90% of them living in extreme poverty and subject to increasing cases of exploitation, victimization, and abuse by both Lebanese authorities and residents. Despite the squalid conditions in the refugee camps, many refugees still prefer it to the risk of returning to Assad-controlled Syria.