Syrian Refugees Leave Lebanon’s Deir Al-Ahmar after Decision to Dismantle their Camp
The tents of Syrian refugees were quickly removed on Friday from the Caritas camp in Baalbek’s Deir al-Ahmar, after three tents were set on fire overnight by unidentified men.
“More than 700 refugees were given a deadline until Friday night to remove their belongings from the tents before the camp’s closure,” refugees told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Syrians at the camp were seen on Friday moving their belongings to vacant areas in the plains.
Reports said most refugees decided to later head to the town of Iaat, east of Deir al-Ahmar.
“If we don’t follow the restrictions, then they are going to burn down all the tents, the same way the three first tents were burnt last Thursday,” a woman told Asharq Al-Awsat.
A decision to close the camp was taken by local authorities after a Lebanese civil defense member was attacked by a number of Syrian youths who threw stones at him and at his vehicle as he was trying to extinguish a fire near their camp at the entrance of Deir al-Ahmar on Wednesday.
The town’s mayor, Latif Al Kuzah, and other officials had given the refugees until Friday night to leave the camp, which included 120 tents of refugees who had fled Raqqa, Deir Ezzor and Aleppo in northern Syria.
Immediately, the army raided the camp and arrested 33 Syrians.
On Friday, Baalbeck-Hermel Governor Bashir Khodr toured the camp.
“It is true that unidentified people threw at night a grenade that set two tents on fire, however, our priority is to keep security, safeguard civil peace and implement the law,” he said.
The governor praised the wisdom of Deir al-Ahmar residents who allowed the refugees to remove their belongings and take them elsewhere. “We will launch an investigation into what happened,” Khodr added.
Last Wednesday, the governor banned all movement of Syrian refugees in the area.
Sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that residents rejected a proposal to replace the camp by another.