Lebanon: The Hezbollah leader wants to pressure Europe with Syrian refugees

Hassan Nasrallah called on the Lebanese authorities to open the sea to anyone who wants to leave for Europe

Screenshot 3 10 Hezbollah leader, LEBANON, Immigrants

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah urged the Lebanese authorities on Monday to "open the sea" to boatloads of refugees to pressure Europe, which is accused by a section of Lebanon's political world of seeking Syrians who have taken refuge in the country. remain there.

During a speech broadcast live on television, Mr. Nasrallah called for a "national decision" to be made and to "open the sea" to "anyone who wants to leave for Europe, for Cyprus," the European Union country where closer to the Middle East. He hastened to add that he is not suggesting that Syrians be "forced" to "board boats" and "leave".

Lebanon, mired in an unprecedented economic crisis since 2019, host to nearly two million Syrian refugees — the highest per capita ratio in the world — has not stopped calling on the international community to ensure their repatriation.

Part of the Lebanese political world accuses the Syrian refugees of worsening the situation in the country and the pressure is intensifying as the annual summit on Syria approaches in Brussels (May 27).

At the beginning of the month, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced in Beirut the granting of one billion euros in aid, intended primarily to prevent irregular immigration. The announcement was criticized by many in Lebanon, as they believe that its real purpose is for the Syrian refugees to remain in the country.

Syrian refugees are currently "forbidden" to leave and thus "turn to smugglers and inflatable boats and we are drowning at sea because the Lebanese army is implementing a political decision to prevent them from migrating", said the leader of Hezbollah, a powerful Lebanese group, yesterday Islamist movement.

Mr. Nasrallah also called on the Lebanese parliament to put pressure on the European Union and the United States to lift sanctions on Damascus that, according to the Syrian government, are hindering efforts to distribute humanitarian aid and start a reconstruction process.

Lebanon is required to tell the West "'we must all coordinate with the Syrian government to send the expatriates to Syria and offer them assistance there,'" he ruled.

He made these statements on the eve of the resumption of "voluntary returns" of Syrians from Lebanon to their homeland, a year and a half after they were suspended.

Human rights defenders warn against the risk of arbitrary arrests and torture of returning Syrians.

The highly complex war in Syria, which broke out in 2011, triggered by the authorities' crackdown on protests centered on the country's democratization, has claimed the lives of more than half a million people and turned millions more into internally displaced persons and refugees.

Source: protothema.gr