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President: Lebanon will not wait for political solution before returning Syria refugees

President of Lebanon Michel Aoun [Mohamemd Asad/Middle East Monitor]
President of Lebanon Michel Aoun, 2 February 2018 [Mohamemd Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Lebanese President Michel Aoun said that his country refuses to wait for a political solution before returning the Syrian refugees to their homeland.

“We are surprised by the position of some parties which obstruct this return or do not encourage it,” Aoun said during a meeting with foreign delegations in the presidential palace.

“Lebanon faces many challenges with 1.8 million displaced people on its territory since 2015,” he said.

According to the president, nearly 50 per cent of Lebanon’s population is made up of refugees.

Read: Lebanese TV broadcasts ‘racist’ song against Syrian refugees

In mid-April, 500 Syrian refugees in Lebanon’s south-eastern town of Shebaa left the area heading to Syria’s Beit Jinn, which was recaptured by the regime forces from the opposition in December, media reports revealed.

The refugees’ convoy was accompanied by Lebanese security forces.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) condemned the expulsion of the refugees. “Municipalities have no legitimate justification for forcibly evicting Syrian refugees if it amounts to nationality-based or religious discrimination,” Bill Frelick, HRW’s director for refugee rights and the author of the report, said.

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