Syrian Opposition Proposes Transfer of Refugees in Lebanon to ‘Liberated Regions’

Syrians in Azaz protest the forced deportations of refugees from Lebanon. (Azaz social media)
Syrians in Azaz protest the forced deportations of refugees from Lebanon. (Azaz social media)
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Syrian Opposition Proposes Transfer of Refugees in Lebanon to ‘Liberated Regions’

Syrians in Azaz protest the forced deportations of refugees from Lebanon. (Azaz social media)
Syrians in Azaz protest the forced deportations of refugees from Lebanon. (Azaz social media)

Opposition civilian and political groups in Syria’s northwest announced their complete readiness to receive Syrian refugees from Lebanon in liberated Syrian regions in wake of the violations and forced deportation they are facing in the neighboring country.

The “Political Affairs Administration” in the opposition-held Idlib region and the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham group said on Friday that they were prepared to welcome over two million refugees in Lebanon who are threatened with forced deportation to regime-held regions where their lives could be at risk.

In a statement, they urged Lebanese authorities to return to reason and their humanitarian and moral duties towards civilian refugees in line with international laws and norms that ensure their protection.

They added that the Syrians were initially forced to leave their country given the violence of President Bashar al-Assad's regime against them. Nearly two million Syrians have sought refuge in Lebanon to escape imprisonment or death.

Now, the refugees in Lebanon are coming under systematic verbal and physical violence. They are victims of government decisions of forced deportation that have not taken into account the consequences they will face by the Assad regime once they return, they continued.

The groups said they are “fully prepared” to receive the refugees in liberated Syrian regions in the north.

The practices of the Lebanese authorities prompted popular protests and rallies in the cities of Azaz, al-Bab and Afrin in the Idlib countryside and in Idlib city.

Seif Hammoud, who was displaced from the Homs countryside to Azaz, said he fears for the life of his parents and siblings, who are living in a refugee camp in Lebanon’s Baalbek region, should they be deported to regime-controlled regions.

Syria’s northwest is home to tens of thousands of Syrians who have been displaced from across the war-torn country.

Hammoud spoke of the fears of other families over their loved ones in Lebanon. He criticized the United Nations for failing to come up with a mechanism that protects the refugees in Lebanon from the violations, detentions and insults they are facing.

The regime has arrested dozens of Syrians who had previously been forcibly deported, he revealed.

Syrian activists on social media discussed the refugee crisis, with the majority agreeing that the best solution lies in their return to opposition-held regions.

In recent weeks, the Lebanese army had carried out a campaign against Syrian refugees throughout the country, arresting 450 people and deporting over 60 to Syria, revealed informed sources.



Israeli Tanks at Edge of Rafah's Mawasi Refuge Zone

A man walks across  fallen tents the day after a strike on the al-Mawasi area, northwest of the Palestinian city of Rafah on June 22, 2024.  (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
A man walks across fallen tents the day after a strike on the al-Mawasi area, northwest of the Palestinian city of Rafah on June 22, 2024. (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
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Israeli Tanks at Edge of Rafah's Mawasi Refuge Zone

A man walks across  fallen tents the day after a strike on the al-Mawasi area, northwest of the Palestinian city of Rafah on June 22, 2024.  (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
A man walks across fallen tents the day after a strike on the al-Mawasi area, northwest of the Palestinian city of Rafah on June 22, 2024. (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)

Israeli tanks advanced to the edge of the Mawasi displaced persons' camp in the northwest of the southern Gaza city of Rafah on Sunday in fierce fighting with Hamas-led fighters, residents said.
Images of two Israeli tanks stationed on a hilltop overlooking the coastal area went viral on social media, but Reuters could not independently verify them.

"The fighting with the resistance has been intense. The occupation forces are overlooking the Mawasi area now, which forced families there to head for Khan Younis," said one resident, who asked not to be named, on a chat app.

More than eight months into Israel's war in the Hamas-administered Palestinian enclave, its advance is focused on the two areas its forces have yet to seize: Rafah on Gaza's southern tip and the area surrounding Deir al-Balah in the center.

Residents said Israeli tanks had pushed deeper into western and northern Rafah in recent days, blowing up dozens of houses.

The Israeli military said it was continuing "intelligence-based, targeted operations" in the Rafah area and had located weapons stores and tunnel shafts, and killed Palestinian gunmen.

The armed wings of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad movement said their fighters had attacked Israeli forces in Rafah with anti-tank rockets and mortar bombs and pre-planted explosive devices.

Elsewhere, an Israeli airstrike killed eight Palestinians in Sabra, a suburb of Gaza City in the north, and another strike killed two people in Nuseirat in central Gaza.

The military said it had struck dozens of targets throughout the Strip.

On Saturday, Palestinian health officials said at least 40 Palestinians had been killed in separate Israeli strikes in some northern Gaza districts, where the Israeli army said it had attacked Hamas's military infrastructure. Hamas said the targets were the civilian population.

In Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, health officials at Kamal Adwan Hospital said a baby had died of malnutrition, taking the number of children dead of malnutrition or dehydration since Oct. 7 to at least 30, a number that health officials say reflects under-recording.