Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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Sweden Involved In Refugee Conflict in Lebanon

The small crisis-stricken Lebanon is one of the world’s main recipient countries of Syrian refugees. About 1.5 million Syrians live in Lebanon after fleeing their homeland since the outbreak of war in 2011. The refugees often face various forms of harassment and on several occasions the Lebanese state has encouraged Syrians to leave the country.

However, returning has not been an option for many families. This applies, among other things, to the single mother Um Khalil, 49, and her five children, aged 12 to 24. At home in the northern city of Tripoli, the family makes yogurt and cheese which they then sell. The mother takes care of her 22-year-old son, who four years ago was seriously injured in a fall accident.

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In early May, Um Khalil’s eldest son Khalil, 24, was arrested by the Lebanese military. He had his motorbike seized, forcibly transferred to the other side of the border and handed over to the Syrian army. Deportations often lead to those wanted being arrested, tortured or killed – for which organizations such as Amnesty and Human Rights Watch have criticized Lebanon on several occasions.

Attempts to deport Syrians and harassment of refugees have outraged the Syrian opposition. Several activists have recently circulated an old video clip, in which a Swedish citizen mocks the Lebanese army and calls on Syrians to arm themselves.

Lebanon brought up the video clip in a meeting with Ann Dismorr, Sweden’s ambassador in Beirut, and her colleague Sophie Becker, deputy head of the unit for the Middle East and North Africa, in early May. In a statement to DN, the Swedish Foreign Ministry confirms that they have received information that a Swedish person living in Sweden has spread calls to Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

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