Syriac Maronite Patriarch Mor Boutros al-Raï calls on Syrian government to allow for return of displaced Syrians

BEIRUT — Syriac Maronite Patriarch Mor Boutros al-Raï expressed regret over the recent clashes between Lebanese and displaced Syrians over their participation in Syrian elections and called on the Syrian state to allow for displaced Syrians to return home.

Following recent events in the Nahr Kalb area north of Beirut, when a number of Lebanese youths attacked Syrian cars heading to the Syrian Embassy to cast their votes in the presidential elections, the Patriarch stated that, “ We regret the clash between some Lebanese and Syrians and caused by provocation to the feelings of the Lebanese in an area teeming with martyrs, while the file of missing Syrians is still incomplete and it is known that Lebanon has carried out its duties towards the Lebanese and displaced Syrians.”

Patriarch al-Raï said it is not acceptable for the displaced to remain in Lebanon pending a political solution in Syria, adding that Lebanon should not become a waiting room for those escaping the region’s conflicts.

He called on the Syrian government to open the way for displaced Syrians to return home and called on the Lebanese state to take measures to ensure the safe return of displaced persons. The Patriarch also called on the United Nations to work to manage the Syrian presence in Lebanon and manage their return to Syria.