Syrian-American Community Urges Lebanon to Stop Targeting Refugees

The Syrian-American community is deeply alarmed by recent actions taken by certain parties on the ground in Lebanon fanning hate and inciting the Lebanese population against vulnerable Syrian refugees. Recently there have been credible reports by international news agencies and independent human rights groups of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) engaging in a targeted campaign involving raiding, arresting, and forced expulsion of hundreds of refugees back into Assad-regime controlled territories in Syria. Dozens have been arrested by the regime as a result.

Syrian refugees are being victimized as the cause of economic malaise in a country where political elites’ policies and political and economic mismanagement have turned Lebanon into a failed state. The majority of refugees seeking safety from the Assad regime are self-employed and actively contribute to Lebanon’s economy; in addition to the international financial assistance Beirut receives specifically to help Syrian refugees.

Lebanon is a signatory of the fourth Geneva Convention, which provides protection for refugees in war and conflict zones. The convention prohibits the extradition or forced repatriation of refugees to areas from which they fled. Since Syria remains a zone of armed conflict, refugees cannot be forced to return.

The United States has provided millions in military assistance to the LAF, who are now using that funding to send refugees back to the Assad regime, putting them at risk of imprisonment, torture, and death. The United States must speak out forcefully and clearly against using military assistance to violate international law.

The Syrian American community calls on the Lebanese authorities to immediately suspend their discriminatory campaign of arrests, harassment, and expulsion of refugees and abide by international humanitarian law and international conventions fully. The Lebanese government is responsible for the fate of any Syrian refugee handed over to the Assad regime, and any continuation of the government’s targeting of refugees will be held accountable through all legal and political means possible.

All countries in the region must abide by international law, provide protection and care for refugees, including Syrians. Illegal and life-endangering expulsions must stop.


Citizens for a Secure and Safe America (C4SSA)

Syrian Center for Legal Studies and Research

Global Justice

American Coalition for Syria