Lebanon condemns European Parliament’s decision on Syrian refugees, deportations continue

BEIRUT — The Lebanese government has strongly objected to the recent decision of the European Parliament to maintain Syrian refugees in Lebanon, despite ongoing deportation efforts.

While Lebanon, alongside international and regional entities, has been urging the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland due to the economic strains they put on the already struggling country, the European Parliament voted in favor of keeping them in Lebanon. This decision was motivated by the Lebanese Army’s operations to apprehend refugees in recent months, as well as the absence of safe conditions for their return to Syria.

The Lebanese government has expressed its condemnation of the European vote, with Minister of Social Affairs, Hector Hajjar, criticizing the stance of Josep Borrell, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, for endorsing the decision to retain Syrian refugees in Lebanon despite the burden it places on the country.

This European vote follows an announcement by Lebanese Minister of the Displaced Issam Sharaf el-Din revealing plans to deport 180,000 refugees to Syrian government-controlled areas, with an additional 50,000 refugees slated for deportation each month.

However, the European vote aligns with the perspective of human rights organizations, which have highlighted the risks faced by Syrian refugees if forcibly returned to their country. These risks include prosecution, imprisonment, and torture by the regime and its security forces.