AANES declares readiness to receive Syrian refugees in Lebanon

RAQQA, Syria (North Press) – The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) expressed on Sunday its readiness to receive Syrian refugees forcibly deported by Lebanese authorities.

The AANES stated that they are ready to receive Syrian refugees in Lebanon, who are going through a “really bad situation.” The door is open for all Syrians without discrimination as a humanitarian, moral, and national duty, according to the statement.

The AANES demanded in its statement that the UN needs to give assistance and guarantees and to take on its responsibilities in opening a humanitarian corridor between Lebanon and its regions to facilitate the refugees’ return.

“We are ready to receive the refugees and provide the support and assistance within our abilities. This dilemma is a humanitarian issue, and we need cooperation to be able to solve it,” the statement added.

The AANES considered the forcible deportation of refugees to Syria to be illegal and not in line with the values, standards, and laws of protection of refugees, demanding to address the issue as quickly as possible. 

The AANES was first formed in 2014 in the Kurdish-majority regions of Afrin, Kobani and Jazira in northern Syria following the withdrawal of the government forces. Later, it was expanded to Manbij, Tabqa, Raqqa, Hasakah and Deir ez-Zor after the SDF defeated ISIS militarily there.

On Friday, dozens of Lebanese and Syrians protested in Tripoli, the largest city in northern Lebanon, against the forcibly deportation of Syrian refugees from Lebanon.

Lebanon’s ruling class has long called for the expulsion of the more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees still living within its borders. 

On April 25, Amnesty International, a human rights advocacy organization, called on the Lebanese authorities to “halt illegal deportation operations of Syrian refugees” for fear that they may face “torture or persecution” by the Syrian government. 

Lebanon is witnessing incitement against Syrians on social media amid spike in racist rhetoric, in addition to the perpetration of attacks and violations against them by Lebanese citizens under the pretext of the deteriorating economic situation in the country.

According to official estimates, the number of Syrian refugees residing in Lebanon is about 1.5 million, while the number registered with the UNHCR is approximately 880,000, and they go through severe and substandard conditions.

Reporting by Ahmad Othman