Lebanese army storms Syrian camp, detains male refugees
The Lebanese Army stormed a Syrian refugee camp near the town of Bar Elias in the Beqaa Valley on Wednesday, removing tents and detaining most of the male refugees living there.
The New Arab’s affiliate Syria TV reported that the army destroyed 110 empty tents from the Yasmin Refugee Camp. These had been donated by humanitarian organizations for use in emergency situations. Up to 80 people were detained for not possessing the correct documents. The army also confiscated motorcycles belonging to refugees.
The Yasmin Refugee Camp was established in 2016 in coordination with the UNHCR and the Lebanese Interior Ministry. It consists of 320 pre-fabricated housing units and a number of tents.
The Lebanese Union for Relief and Development Associations (URDA) criticised the army’s actions in a statement, saying that the Lebanese government had given them no notice of a need to remove the camp, and had destroyed the tents and arrested the refugees without warning.
URDA also warned that 465 Syrian refugee families living in the camp and nearby camps were at risk of being displaced again, because they felt "that their security is threatened and that their tents can be destroyed or removed at any time, after they received direct threats from security forces that it would be their turn next".
Lebanon hosts approximate 1 million Syrian refugees. They are frequently subjected to harrasment and detention by Lebanese security forces on various pretexts and suffer harsh living conditions.
The Lebanese authorities have recently placed increasing pressure on Syrians in the country to return to Syria, saying that it is safe for them to do so.
Last week the Lebanese Refugee Affairs Minister, Saleh Ghraib, said that he would submit a plan to the Lebanese cabinet for return of Syrian refugees to their homeland "soon
However there have been reports of returning refugees being detained, conscripted into the army, or even killed by Assad regime forces in Syria.