Lebanese General Security arrested five Syrian refugees in the Rafik al-Hariri Airport in the capital Beirut and barred them from entering Lebanese territory for five years, according to a rights center on Thursday.
The Access Center for Human Rights said that authorities at Beirut airport had detained five refugees, including three women, after their depature from Lebanon to the Kurdistan Region through Ataturk Airport (transit). The center said that Turkey refused to facilitate the trip to the region, which forced them to return to Beirut.
Lebanese General Security placed a mark on the refugees’ passports and barred them from entering Lebanese territory for five years when they left on Wednesday morning from the Rafik al-Hariri Airport.
The rights center said, that by contacting the detained refugees, it had learned “that members of General Security had threatened to transfer them to a military court in Beirut or deport them to Syria, without respect for their freedom to choose to depart Lebanon to any other country.”
The airport authorities also prevented the refugees from using their phones in the airport, and so contact with them was lost at 3am Beirut time.
From time to time, Syrian refugees are arrested in the Hariri Airport, and their situation has gotten worse since Sudanese authorities imposed visa restrictions in January 2019, on all Syrians coming from outside Syria. Previously, Khartoum had been the one outlet that allowed Syrian refugees and those fleeing from Lebanon and Syria to enter without an entry visa.
In a previous statement, Diala Chehade, a Lebanese lawyer and director of the Center for the Defense of Civil Rights in Lebanon, and a former lawer in the International Criminal Court, said that the expulsion of the Syrians was a violation of the General Convention on Human Rights and on the international conventions against torture, but that Lebanon had not signed the Convention on the Status of Refugees, and so it is not binding in this respect, but that it is bound by the two prior conventions.
The lawyer, who spoke to Alsouria Net, believed that the future of Syrian refugees in Lebanon was to a large extent influenced by, “the political, security and economic settlements in Syria, that is, with the residents of the areas that showed political or military opposition to the Bashar al-Assad regime. Media mobilization in this incident is useful for ensuring it isn’t repeated and preventing the occurrence of deportations to Syria of people fleeing from Syria and were not actually in Syria, or who fled Syria now to escape security prosecution.”
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.