BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Lebanese authorities raid Syrian refugee gatherings

In this file photo, a traffic officer waves motorists on in the Beirut suburb of Dekwaneh. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: Security forces, along with Municipality Police, launched raids on Syrian refugee gatherings in the Beirut suburb of Dekwaneh, arresting many, a security source told The Daily Star.

Although the source declined to specify the number of detainees, they said those apprehended possessed photos of Syrian battlefields stored in their cellphones.

The buildings subject to the raids are located in Ras Dekwaneh and housed hundreds of Syrian families.

The raids were made in light of the last week’s clashes in Arsal, which pitted the Lebanese Army against militants from Syria, some of whom resided in informal refugee camps in the border region.

The fighting raised concerns about refugee gatherings scattered across the country, particularly in the Metn region and Beirut’s northern suburbs, the source said.

Earlier this week, a Syrian man sexually assaulted a girl in Dekwaneh, prompting a group of Lebanese young men to retaliate and attack the man. Minutes later, the Syrian returned with a group of 20 others who staged a revenge attack on the men, the source said.

Syrians, who have mostly fled clashes in their home country and work in Lebanon’s Metn region, have also been blamed for the rise of crimes such as theft, sexual assault and drug-related offenses.

Municipalities have taken measures to register refugees in their respective towns and districts, part of a nationwide plan to better control the presence of thousands of refugees who have fled violence in Syria.

Meanwhile, the Lebanese Army raided informal refugee camps in the eastern border towns of Hermel and Masharih al-Qaa, the National News Agency reported.

The Army raided last week the largest gathering of refugees in the coastal city of Sidon as well.

 

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