BURJ AL-SHEMALI, Lebanon: Syrian refugees have been given 48 hours to evacuate one southern village, according to notices from the police, over health problems and security concerns in their informal refugee camp.
Police from Tyre's Burj al-Shemali Municipality handed out letters to Syrian refugees in the village saying they had 48 hours to evacuate or be held accountable.
The camp, built on public property belonging to the municipality, consists of 110 tents each housing more than one family who have fled to the southern village since the uprising began in 2011.
Mayor Ali Dib said the measure was in light of health and security concerns, saying the municipality also sought to get rid of “random refugee settlements.”
“Diseases, especially skin diseases, have spread among the refugees due to sanitation issues,” Dib told The Daily Star.
“We are not against the presence of refugees, but we do not want random settlements to increase, therefore, we asked them to leave the tents and either rent apartments or live on farms they already work in.”
Most of the refugees in Burj al-Shemali and other southern villages work in farming.
The mayor also cited security concerns over the presence of groups of refugees in light of recent clashes in the northeastern border town of Arsal between the Lebanese Army and militants from Syria, some of whom resided in refugee camps nearby.
Meanwhile, a group of Syrian refugee families fled several south Lebanon villages, fearing reprimands against them over the killing of two Lebanese soldiers by ISIS.
ISIS beheaded in the past two weeks two Lebanese soldiers who were among troops kidnapped during Arsal clashes. The radical group is demanding the release of Islamist detainees in Roumieh Prison in exchange for the release of the soldiers.
In the Beirut suburb of Burj Hammoud, residents circulated a flyer asking Syrians to leave in retaliation to ISIS beheading two captured soldiers.
"We ask Syrian citizens living in Burj Hammoud to evacuate the area starting Tuesday, Sept. 9, at 6 p.m. and [the decision is] in solidarity with the martyrs of the Lebanese Army," said the statement.
At the bottom of the flyer read a note, urging political parties to refrain from intervening in the matter.