Lebanese government takes stricter measures regarding Syrian refugees

DAMASCUS, Syria (North Press) – The Lebanese Council of Ministers convened on Monday and issued a series of stringent decisions concerning Syrian refugees. The council directed relevant administrations and ministries to take appropriate actions within their jurisdiction to address the issue.

The Council of Ministers requested security and military agencies to cooperate and coordinate their efforts to enhance existing measures, particularly those undertaken by the border regiments in the army and all border checkpoints. The aim is to strengthen border security, increase inspections along infiltration routes, and conduct comprehensive and coordinated operations to target smuggling networks. Perpetrators are to be referred to the competent judiciary for prosecution.

Furthermore, the Council instructed the closure of illegal crossing points and the confiscation of resources and funds used in illegal activities. These actions will be accompanied by extensive media coverage. Unauthorized entry into Lebanon by Syrians will be prohibited, and immediate measures will be taken to facilitate their repatriation to their home country.

On Sept. 7, Lebanese Army announced preventing 1,200 Syrians from crossing the border into Lebanon during the week.

The council also requested the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities to issue an immediate report on any suspicious movements and gatherings related to Syrian refugees. An immediate survey of Syrian refugees was also mandated.

The Ministry of Labor was instructed to tighten the implementation of deterrent legal measures against institutions and companies operating on Lebanese territory that violate labor laws and regulations, especially concerning foreign (Syrian) labor.

The Ministries of Industry, Economy, and Trade were tasked with ensuring the enforcement of legal and financial consequences against non-compliant commercial establishments and the factories and institutions employing Syrian workers.

The Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Expatriates, and Social Affairs requested intensified cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide suitable and immediate conditions for Syrian refugees in collaboration with security and military agencies.

The Ministry of Information was not exempt from instructions, as the Council of Ministers directed it to launch awareness campaigns about the dangers of seeking refuge to both Syrian and Lebanese communities, urging citizens to cooperate with security and military agencies to apprehend smuggling gangs at the borders.

Lebanon has already put in effect a plan to deport 15,000 Syrian refugees per month. Meanwhile the UN rejected this resolution considering Syria is still an unsafe state.

Lebanon is home to roughly two million Syrians who fled from the violence of Syria’s civil war. Since the beginning of April, the Lebanese Armed Forces have forcefully deported hundreds, including some of the around 800,000 Syrians that are under UNHCR protection.

Most of the migrants to Lebanon aspire to head across its coast to western countries.

By Saad Yaziji