Syrian Opposition Coalition
Department of Media and Communications
August 28, 2021
In a dangerous precedent, the Assad regime lured five Syrian citizens residing in Lebanon into its embassy in Beirut, with nothing heard about their fate or whereabouts.
Luring expatriate citizens to the embassy and then kidnapping them constitute a violation of international norms and laws as well as a violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The Assad regime has thus turned the embassy into a trap, which turns Syrian embassies around the world into a dangerous place for Syrians and others alike.
The competent authorities in Lebanon, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Interior as well as the security apparatus are directly responsible for following up on this issue and rescuing the kidnapped citizens, especially as this crime affects the powers of the Lebanese host authorities.
The international community and international organizations, including the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and UN Human Rights Council, and the Lebanese authorities are required to take swift action to ensure the release of the five abductees. They are also required to protect international agreements on embassies and consulates, especially with regard to using diplomatic missions in ways that contravene their original functions, and do what is necessary to deal with this dangerous precedent.
After this precedent, visiting consulates and embassies around the world to obtain documents or conduct consular transactions have become a dangerous adventure fraught with the possibility of arrest and kidnapping. The Assad regime has turned those embassies into security branches to track down opponents of its criminality.
The Syrian Opposition Coalition demands that Syrian citizens be exempted from all official papers whose issuance requires them to go to the embassies of the criminal regime. These papers must from now on be issued through the UNHCR in the host countries in order to avoid being subjected to arrest and enforced disappearance.