A Syrian refugee in a camp in Akkar, Lebanon | Photo: ARCHIVE/EPA/WAEL HAMZEH
A Syrian refugee in a camp in Akkar, Lebanon | Photo: ARCHIVE/EPA/WAEL HAMZEH

The Lebanese authorities have expelled 15 Syrian refugees from among a group of people who had tried in recent days to reach the coast of Cyprus but were pushed back by Cypriot authorities.

The Lebanese authorities have expelled 15 Syrian refugees including both women and minors among a group of people who had tried in recent days to reach the coast of Cyprus but who were pushed back by Cypriot authorities.

Lebanese media reported the news on Monday, noting reports from Lebanese human rights associations that say that the forced repatriation of Syrian refugees, who fled a country at war where armed groups and militias commit violations against civilians, is a flagrant violation against the principle of international protection.

Deportations began in 2019

Lebanon has never signed the Geneva Refugee Convention and has since 2011 hosted over a million Syrian refugees in a country with a surface area of about Italy's Abruzzo region and a population of under four million prior to the Syrian conflict that began ten years ago.

After years of tolerating Syrian refugees who were nonetheless deprived of their basic rights in Lebanon, the authorities in Beirut began forcibly repatriating some in 2019 but halted this in 2020 due to border closures linked to the pandemic.

Coordination between Lebanon and Cyprus

Human rights associations say deportations have resumed in recent weeks. The Lebanese authorities and their Cypriot counterparts have in recent months also achieved a higher level of coordination on what they call a "fight against clandestine immigration."

Many Lebanese who have become steadily poorer over the two years of the country's ongoing worst economic crisis in 30 years are also trying to flee to Cyprus, and not only Syrians.

 

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