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)
President of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa called on the international community to increase efforts to hold accountable perpetrators of war crimes in Syria as key to reaching a real political solution.
President Mustafa was commenting on the French judiciary’s issuance of arrest warrants for three senior Assad regime’s intelligence officers, namely Ali Mamlouk, chief of national security, Jamil Hassan, director of the air force intelligence, and Abdul Salam Mahmoud, head of the investigations branch of the Air Force Intelligence.
"The international community has done very little to hold accountable the perpetrators of these crimes," Mustafa said, adding that the efforts that has been made in this regard does not correspond with the sheer size of the atrocities that have been committed in Syria over the past eight years."
President Mustafa stressed that the country needs a “sustainable” political solution, pointing out that this solution depends on "the principle of accountability" for the crimes committed in Syria, especially by the Assad regime officials.
Moreover, President Mustafa stressed that the place of perpetrators of these crimes should be "in cages inside law courts and not in a political solution," in reference to the international community’s continued consideration of the Assad regime as part of the political process.
Meanwhile, human rights activists called for the issuance of new arrest warrants for the Assad regime officials as all the orders to kill were issued by the head of the regime.
French newspaper Le Monde on Monday reported that French prosecutors issued international arrest warrants for three senior Syrian intelligence and Assad regime officials, especially security chief Ali Mamlouk for collusion in war crimes and crime against humanity. The move was part of a long-running lawsuit that the French judiciary has been investigating since 2016. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)