Lebanese Tensions Rise After Politician’s Murder, Syrian Refugees Targeted

Credit: (Reuters)

Tensions in Lebanon are escalating following the abduction and murder of Pascal Suleiman, a coordinator for the Christian Lebanese Forces Party (LFP). While authorities say they’ve arrested most suspects in the crime, the Lebanese government is calling for stricter enforcement of regulations on Syrian refugees, a population already facing increased scrutiny and violence.

The Lebanese Interior Minister, Bassam Mawlawi, called for limiting the Syrian presence in Lebanon, citing a high number of Syrians detained in Lebanese prisons. Mawlawi emphasized the enforcement of Lebanese laws and highlighted the “unacceptable” burden on Lebanon, a country already grappling with economic woes and political chaos.

The LFP leader Samir Geagea commented about the events saying, “We demand the return of Syrian refugees but denounce the barbaric attacks many of them are subjected to.” Adding that the actions witnessed on the ground against Syrians are unacceptable and are both “suspicious in nature and timing.”

The Syrian National Coalition (SNC), a Turkey-based revolutionary group, condemned the murder and rejected attempts to blame Syrian refugees. They called for the perpetrators’ apprehension and criticized the Lebanese government for failing to protect refugees from violence.

The SNC also condemned the “slogans and violations” inciting violence against refugees, referencing recent attacks in Jbeil and Bourj Hammoud areas with large populations of Syrian refugees. Lebanese security forces claim the attackers were targeting a “Syrian gang” involved in Suleiman’s killing.

The SNC blames the Syrian regime and Hezbollah for the refugee crisis as well as the abduction and murder of Suleiman and urged the international community to hold them accountable for war crimes. They also called for a secure environment for refugees and a controlled Syrian-Lebanese border.


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