Lebanon’s Forced Deportations Pose Grave Risk to Syrian Refugees

Please see below statement from Refugees International Senior Advocate for the Middle East Jesse Marks:

“Syrian refugees in Lebanon are facing a brutal crackdown by Lebanese authorities with reports from Refugees International’s local contacts of forced deportations back to Syria. This escalating refoulement of Syrians puts vulnerable populations in direct, life-threatening situations. For many, premature return means arbitrary arrest, torture, abuse, disappearance, or death.

This past week, Lebanese authorities have grabbed Syrian refugees during home raids and rotating check points, including in Beirut. Syrians who lack documentation or with expired permits are being taken to the border and handed over to Syrian authorities.

This is not the first round of forced returns orchestrated by the Lebanese government, as documented by Human Rights Watch last year.

The participation of Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and Lebanese police forces is particularly troubling given they are direct recipients of $72 million in U.S. security aid, provided in January 2023.

Refugees International calls on the Lebanese government and security forces to refrain from arbitrarily detaining and deporting Syrians and, instead, to work with the United Nations to identify workable solutions to help refugees without legal status or with expired residencies to rectify their status or register with the UN Refugee Agency. Refugees International also calls on the United States and partner governments to pressure the Lebanese Armed Forces, recipients of U.S. security assistance, to refrain from the forced arrest, detainment, and return of Syrians in Lebanon.”

Refugees International delivered a joint NGO Statement to the UNHCR Standing Committee in March 2023 calling on Lebanese authorities to de-escalate anti-refugee rhetoric and improve social cohesion. For more, read “NGO Statement on the Middle East and North Africa.”

To schedule an interview, please contact Refugees International’s Vice President for Strategic Outreach Sarah Sheffer at ssheffer@refugeesinternational.org. 

Cover Photo: A member of the Lebanese security forces stands guard as Syrian refugees prepare to leave the Lebanese capital Beirut on September 4, 2018. Photo by Anwar Amro/AFP via Getty Images.