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Mass Strike by Syrian Workers in Lebanon: Desperate Cry for Fair Treatment

This reaction underscores that security measures and forced relocations are not viable solutions to the challenges faced by displaced populations.
Mass Strike by Syrian Workers in Lebanon: Desperate Cry for Fair Treatment

Syrian labourers across Lebanon have launched a week-long strike, marking an unprecedented halt in industries predominantly staffed by Syrians, including agriculture, construction, and various crafts. Initiated by the Syrian Workers Association in response to aggressive security raids, the strike has effectively immobilized the Bekaa region, a major hub for Syrian refugees. This reaction underscores that security measures and forced relocations are not viable solutions to the challenges faced by displaced populations.

In the central Bekaa’s Faour area, where female agricultural workers are notably absent from the fields, a young striker, merely seventeen, shared, “We’ve protested low wages before with little impact, as landowners would simply hire other Syrians. This time, however, there’s widespread commitment to the strike.”

From the western to the northern parts of Bekaa, including the Arsal region, Syrian workers have abstained from agricultural and retail jobs, leaving many areas deserted during the day—a sight not seen for years in a region that hosts a large number of displaced persons.

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The strike not only reflects dissatisfaction with treatment and fear of security-related arrests but also highlights the increasing restlessness in communities traditionally supportive of Syrians. This sentiment is exacerbated by daily security campaigns targeting refugee camps, particularly in Bekaa.

At a candid discussion hosted by a local organization, many women voiced their despair and perceived racism, further fueled by the pervasive security measures. The ongoing raids have driven some to remain in their tents, using the weather as a pretext to avoid arrest.

The impact of the strike extends beyond unattended fields and closed shops. In Barelias, dubbed the “capital of the displaced” in Lebanon, and other towns like Al-Marj, a significant number of businesses were shuttered. In Saadnayel, Syrians running businesses on Jalala al-Tahta Road chose to close their doors, fearing raids.

The repercussions are profound, stirring serious considerations of relocating, not necessarily back to Syria—where economic uncertainties and sanctions loom large—but elsewhere within Lebanon. This sentiment is echoed by some young men already on the move from Bekaa to Beirut and other regions.

Additionally, amidst this turbulent backdrop, the First Investigating Judge in Mount Lebanon, Nicolas Mansour issued arrest warrants for Syrians Muhammad al-Khaled, Mujahid Ghazal, and Bilal al-Dalu Jaafar. They are accused of forming an armed gang intent on murder and robbery across Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, linked to the killing of Pascal Suleiman, an official from the Lebanese Forces Party. The interrogation of the detainees revealed their involvement in the crime, prompted by a robbery gone awry.

 

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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