A greater wave of hatred is growing over the Syrian refugees in Lebanon with the accelerating economic and political crisis in the country. Dozens of Syrians have been forcibly deported to Assad-held territories in Syria since mid-April 2023. We are following this news with trepidation and great pain, and we can only imagine the fear gripping the hearts of nearly 1.5 million refugees in Lebanon right now. Forced return means detention, torture, and possible death. Forced return is a crime under international law and those responsible for it must be held accountable. With the absence of a political solution and a guarantee for the safety and security of Syrians upon their return, neither deportation nor even encouragement of voluntary return should be applied.
It is noteworthy that Amnesty International issued a detailed report on this, titled "You Are Going to Your Death" in which it documented a group of horrific violations committed by Syrian intelligence officers against 66 refugees returning to Syria, including 13 children. Among these violations were five cases of people who died in custody upon their return, while the fate of 17 of those who were forcibly disappeared remains unknown. The same Lebanese scenario is likely to be repeated in Turkey, with the issue of Syrian refugees being a card played by the competitors in the Turkish presidential elections.
We, in Free Syria's Disappeared Coalition, express our fear for the safety and security of all Syrian refugees in host countries and urge international civil society and political organisations to move towards stopping these deportations in order to avoid the experience of detention for any other family in Syria.