Lebanese Minister: Assad Regime Killed Returning Refugees
Lebanese Minister of State for Refugee Affairs Mouin Merehbi said that the Assad regime killed a Syrian family after they had returned to their home in Homs province. The announcement came a few weeks after thousands of refugees were forced to return to Syria under pressure from the Hezbollah militia.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency on Monday, Merehbi said that he had information about Syrian refugees who had been killed after they returned to their country in June. In that month, Russia put forward a proposal for the return of refugees, which was rejected by the Syrian Coalition as it warned of possible reprisals by the regime against returnees.
The latest killing took place last week against a family in the border village of Al-Barouha in rural Homs, Merehbi said. He cited a source inside Syria as telling him that Assad regime’s security officials stormed the family’s house and killed the father, his son and a nephew.
The Lebanese official pointed out that a friend of the slain family sent him photos of the victims over his mobile phone.
“Murders and liquidation are targeting those returning to regime-held areas, particularly villages and towns near Lebanon’s northern and eastern border,” Merehbi said.
He went on to say that he has been receiving detailed information from friends of families who have begun returning to Syria since June, when the Lebanese authorities began to facilitate the voluntary return of Syrian refugees to their country.
Merehbi said that these incidents cast serious doubt about the Assad regime’s repeated calls on refugees to return. He added that the Assad regime is preventing tens of thousands of Syrian families from returning to their country with the aim of bringing about a demographic change in the country with the help of the Iranians and the Hezbollah militia. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)