Reduced aid drives Syrians to leave Lebanon

Migrants on a Cypriot police boat after their ship was rescued - January 2024 (AP)

Migrants on a Cypriot police boat after their ship was rescued - January 2024 (AP)


The number of Syrian refugees leaving Lebanon is increasing due to the deteriorating living conditions and challenges they face there.

The Associated Press reported yesterday, Tuesday, April 30, that Amy Pope, the Director-General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), said that 3,000 Syrians have left Lebanon since January this year, compared to 4,500 in 2023.

According to Pope, the reduction in aid from countries and the problems faced in Lebanon are the main reasons for the increased numbers arriving in Cyprus.

The Mediterranean island of Cyprus is witnessing the arrival of thousands of Syrians from Lebanon.

Despite Cyprus, a member of the European Union, enacting legal measures to prevent refugee inflow—including suspending the processing of asylum applications—the number of migrants continues to rise.

Pope stated, “We will see an increasing difficulty for Syrians to stay safely in Lebanon, and when they cannot stay safely, they will do what any human being would do, look where they can go.”

Countries have reduced their aid due to the increasing number of conflicts worldwide and the prolonged duration of the conflict in Syria, as per Pope, who mentioned assumptions that ongoing funding could not be sustained.

In addition to suspending asylum applications, Cyprus has patrolled outside Lebanese territorial waters to thwart the arrival of boats.

Since the middle of 2023, Cyprus has been calling for a re-evaluation of some Syrian cities as safe areas, which would allow them to return refugees arriving from these cities.

Cyprus is working to expand its capacity to host refugees, “but it wants its partners in the European Union to reassess their policies,” which includes beginning discussions about the situation in Syria and whether it is safe for refugees to return, as well as better support for Lebanon, which hosts hundreds of thousands of refugees.

At the end of 2023, data from the Foreigners and Migration Department of the Cypriot police showed that Syrians who arrived in Cyprus in 2022 made up 23% of all asylum seekers, while this percentage reached 53% by mid-November 2023.

Amnesty International has called on Cypriot authorities to protect refugees and migrants from racist attacks and to take immediate action to address them.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has stated that conditions in Syria prevent it from promoting or facilitating the return of refugees.

Syrians in Lebanon

On April 25, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a statement saying that Lebanese authorities have arbitrarily detained, tortured, and forcibly returned Syrians in recent months, including opposition activists and military defectors.

Additionally, the organization documented, between January and March 2024, the Lebanese army and the General Directorate of General Security forcibly returning a defector from the Syrian Army and an opposition activist, as well as briefly detaining and torturing a Syrian man for allegedly participating in a pro-Gaza demonstration.

The statement continued that other Syrian refugees struggle to remain in Lebanon despite deportation orders and the increasingly hostile environment exacerbated by officials scapegoating the refugees.

Ramzi Qais, a researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in the statement, “Lebanese officials have for years imposed discriminatory practices against Syrians in the country as a way of coercing them to return to Syria, which remains unsafe. Arbitrarily arresting, torturing, or deporting Syrians who face a well-founded risk of persecution if returned are additional blights on Lebanon’s refugee record.”


النسخة العربية من المقال

Related Articles

  1. European plan to offer 1 billion euros to Lebanon to stop the migration of Syrians
  2. A “Fake” Route Taken by Syrians to Reach Cyprus from Lebanon
  3. Syrians recount migration journey from Syria to Cyprus via Lebanon
  4. A billion euros is not enough, Lebanon wants more out of refugee file

Propaganda distorts the truth and prolongs the war..

Syria needs free media.. We need your support to stay independent..

Support Enab Baladi..

$1 a month makes a difference..

Click here to support