Lebanon Turns Back Fleeing Syrians

Security forces round up refugees
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2011 7:43 AM CDT
Syrians cross the border into Lebanon as they flee violence in Syria, in the Wadi Khaled area, April 28, 2011.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Syrians fleeing across the border into Lebanon this weekend got a rude awakening: Lebanese security forces rounded them up and sent them right back. Hundreds of residents of the town of Tell Kalakh—including some wounded in Bashar al-Assad’s violent crackdown—came across the border hoping for refuge from local Sunnis, who have long hated the Syrian regime. Instead, within hours, Lebanese intelligence agents were hunting for them, witnesses tell the Guardian.

“There were roadblocks everywhere. It was impossible to hide who these people were,” said one Lebanese shop owner. “Why does Lebanon send our brothers back to be killed and tortured by these monsters?” One Lebanese security official, speaking anonymously, said that Syria has been placing massive pressure on Beirut to return fleeing refugees, and to prevent the flow of weapons across the border. “It’s not easy to be Lebanon in this situation,” he said. “They’ve threatened to send troops into northern Lebanon repeatedly.”

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