The American Coalition for Syria (ACS) strongly condemns the ongoing deportation campaign against vulnerable Syrian refugees in Lebanon and joins the calls of Amnesty International and other human rights and civil society organizations for an immediate halt to these deportations that violates the international legal principle of non-refoulement. The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) have forcibly deported more than 168 Syrian refugees, handing them over directly to Assad regime security officials at the border.
“This is an egregious violation of human rights,” said Dr. Mahmoud Barazi, president of the American Coalition for Syria. “The United States has provided millions in military assistance to the LAF, who are now using that funding to send refugees back to the Assad regime, putting them at risk of imprisonment, torture, and death. The United States must speak out forcefully and clearly against using military assistance to violate international law.”
According to reports, the deportation campaign is accompanied by an organized social media and TV campaign fanning hate against Syrian refugees, including the circulation of old videos by fringe opposition figures and inflated numbers of refugees present in Lebanon. Families are being separated at the border, and the campaign claims that many Syrians are present "illegally" in Lebanon, despite being registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The LAF, which is behind these deportations, receives funding from the U.S. government and was provided $72 million in January 2023.
ACS stands in solidarity with Syrian refugees in Lebanon and will continue to monitor the situation. ACS urges the U.S. government to condemn this campaign and provide support to ensure the safety and well-being of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Lebanese authorities need to take immediate action to safeguard the rights and lives of Syrian refugees, and ACS urges U.S. government officials to speak out against these actions publicly and privately. The world must stand with Syrian refugees in Lebanon and take action to protect their rights and lives.