Home > English, Press Articles > Flow of Syrian refugees into Lebanon dwindles

Flow of Syrian refugees into Lebanon dwindles

The Daily Star, May 18 2011

TRIPOLI, Lebanon: Around 160 Syrians, mostly women and children, fled into northern Lebanon through the Hekr Jenin border crossing Tuesday, a senior security source told The Daily Star.

The source said the Syrian refugees began flocking to the Lebanese border on Monday at 7 p.m. and continued entering the country into the early hours of Tuesday morning.

However, no information was made available on the destination of the refugees, the source added.

Later in the day, the number of Syrian refugees heading into Lebanon declined as Syrian authorities blockaded several towns and the security situation calmed, residents in northern Lebanon told The Daily Star.

Residents of Wadi Khaled, a town bordering Syria, said relatively few refugees had crossed the Bokaya border and the situation on the other side seemed quiet compared to previous days, when gunshots could be heard from across the border.

“The security situation is calm now and the fighting has decreased,” one refugee said.

Another refugee, an unidentified Syrian child, was hospitalized at Rahhal hospital in Akkar, where she was treated for shrapnel wounds in the chest.

A security source said the child had been transported from Syria and added that her condition stabilized after she was admitted to the intensive care unit.

Schools in the northern town of Al-Beyra were providing shelter for over 100 Syrian families Tuesday and Wadi Khaled residents also welcomed many refugees into their homes.

On Monday, Lebanon handed over to Syrian authorities three Syrian soldiers and the body of a fourth, after they entered Lebanon two days ago for medical treatment, a judicial source said.

“The handover of soldiers took place upon their request after they stressed that they did not flee the Syrian Army and identified themselves as border guards who crossed the border to escape clashes between the Syrian army and armed men,” the security source said, adding that two soldiers transported their two injured companions to Lebanon for treatment, where one of them died from his injuries.

“The Red Cross met with the Syrian soldiers to verify that they willingly wanted to return to Syria,” the source said.

Commenting on the issue, Human Rights Watch representative in Lebanon Nadim Houri urged Lebanese authorities to act transparently in line with international laws.

He added that Lebanese authorities should refrain from handing over any person if doubts exist over the possibility that the detainee might be subjected to torture in his country of origin.

Lebanese sources said that pro-government forces were surrounding Talkalakh and the northern side of Nahr al-Kabir, the waterway that separates the two neighboring countries, to prevent residents from escaping into Lebanon.

More than 5,000 refugees have crossed into Lebanon so far, officials said Monday. The number shot up over the weekend following the crackdown on Talkalakh, which is located 5 kilometers from the Lebanese border.

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