Member of the Syrian Opposition Coalition’s (SOC) political committee and Coordinator of the refugee office, Salim Idris, denounced the threatening language uttered by Lebanon’s Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi with regard to Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Idirsi said that Al-Rahi is supposed to show sympathy with those displaced from their homes against their will, given that he is a religious man whose duty in society is to promote the values of tolerance, sympathy with the weak, and comforting the vulnerable.
“Al-Rahi should have asked the Hezbollah terrorist militia to withdraw from Syrians cities and villages from which it forced Syrians out,” Idris said.
Idris said that the threatening messages that Al-Rahi sent to the Syrian refugees in Lebanon are similar to the language of an authority that does not show any respect to human dignity, rights and destiny. He added: “A cleric should not use this language in view of his vital role in spreading compassion and tolerance among people and in maintaining community peace.”
“The Syrian refugees did not leave their homes with the aim of putting pressure on the Lebanese society or compete with the Lebanese in their homes or livelihood. Rather, they were forced to leave against their will. Once the appropriate conditions are there, they would not hesitate to return to their homes.”
Idris pointed out that “the regime-held areas are still unsafe for return, a fact which has been repeatedly confirmed by UN and agencies and international rights groups. Deporting Syrian refugees from Lebanon by force to those areas means sending them to the regime’s prisons and detention centers. The areas to which Al-Rahi wants to deport Syrian refugees will not be safe as long as the Assad regime and its allied militias are there.”
The Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC) earlier stressed that the Lebanese government’s plan to forcibly deport Syrian refugees to the Assad regime’s areas will risk paving the way for a major crime against the deportees in view of the Assad regime’s well-known policy of arresting, killing and torturing everyone who opposed its rule or left its areas.
The SOC called on the United Nations, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and the Arab League to take immediate action to prevent an imminent crime against tens of thousands of Syrian refugees should the Lebanese government start implementing its plan. The SOC also called on the Lebanese government to respect the international laws that require the protection of refugees and the safeguarding of their rights. It held it responsible for any harm that may happen to the deportees.
(Source: SOC’s media department)