President of the Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC), Salem Al-Meslet, has sent two separate letters to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, addressing the plight of Syrian refugees in Lebanon and the violations they endure in the country.
Al-Meslet highlighted the numerous challenges being faced by Syrian refugees in Lebanon, including practices that contravene international laws and norms. Notably, the closure of healthcare facilities operated by Syrians has resulted in the denial of vital healthcare services to Syrian refugees. Consequently, they are forced to seek treatment in private hospitals that impose exorbitant fees, making healthcare unaffordable for them.
Expressing reservations about the proposed tripartite committee consisting of Lebanon, the Assad regime, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Al-Meslet cautioned against potential misleading of public opinion regarding the regime’s commitment to resolving the refugee crisis. He emphasized the necessity of addressing the root causes of the refugee problem and holding the Assad regime, its allies, and Hezbollah militia responsible for the suffering endured by millions of Syrians.
Furthermore, Al-Meslet reiterated that the presence of Hezbollah militia occupying the lands of Syrian refugees in the southern and western countryside of Homs, as well as the Qalamoun region, along with their involvement in terrorist acts, constitutes a major obstacle to the return of refugees to Syria and poses threats to their security and lives. He called for urgent action to address this issue, including the immediate withdrawal of the Hezbollah militia from Syrian territory and holding them accountable for the crimes committed against the Syrian people.
Drawing attention to the plight of Syrian prisoners in Lebanon, Al-Meslet emphasized the harsh conditions and increasing death rates they face. He stressed the urgent need for attention to the severe hardships endured by these prisoners, including lack of healthcare, medication, and nutrition, as well as the alarming rise in deaths, diseases, and suicides among them.
Al-Meslet highlighted the intensifying deportations conducted by allies of the Assad regime and Hezbollah against Syrian refugees. He held the Lebanese authorities and security services responsible for these forced deportations, which violate the principle of non-refoulement and expose hundreds of Syrians to the risk of persecution or torture. Al-Meslet demanded an immediate cessation of arrests and deportations, as they constitute flagrant violations of human rights. He also called for cooperation to ensure the fair distribution of humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
Finally, Al-Meslet called on the United Nations and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to safeguard the safety and security of Syrian refugees by opposing forced returns, maintaining an independent approach in monitoring their conditions, and refraining from initiatives that may encourage the Assad regime to defy the implementation of UN resolutions.
(Source: SOC’s Media Department)