Nasrallah Calls on Government To Help Syrian Refugees Pass Into Europe
Xenophobic Tensions Rise, As Refugee Crisis Escalates
Beirut - The leader of the pro-Iran group Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, has called on Lebanon to stop preventing Syrian refugees from leaving the country and instead help facilitate their passage to Europe.
Nasrallah made this statement as Lebanon grapples with a surge in migration from Syria and increasing xenophobic tensions, which have been scaling for the last decade as an influx of refugees entering Lebanon fanned racial tensions, ‘Time’ magazine noted in 2014.
Speaking at a press conference in Beirut, Nasrallah argued that Lebanon should equip Syrian refugees with proper boats and assistance to enable them to reach Europe. He suggested that European countries would intervene to stop the migration flow and seek cooperation from the Lebanese government.
"The European countries will come running to Beirut, to the Serail, and ask the government: 'What do you want to stop this migration of refugees towards Europe?'" Nasrallah said.
Lebanon has recently experienced a significant influx of Syrians crossing the border into the country, seeking refuge from the violence and deteriorating economic conditions in their homeland. The U.S. State Department noted that the estimated (at the time of the last estimation) 1.5 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon were at a high risk human trafficking, compounding the regional crisis.
The Lebanese army has emphasized the need for additional resources and soldiers to address the surge, as it currently finds it impossible to effectively guard the 394-kilometer border with Syria.
Nasrallah also took the opportunity to criticize the United States, holding it responsible for displacing Syrian refugees by imposing sanctions that have undermined the Syrian economy. He suggested that lifting the Caesar Act, which imposes further sanctions on Syria, and opening doors to investments would encourage hundreds of thousands of Syrians to return to their homeland.
The presence of approximately 1.6 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon has sparked xenophobic tensions among the Lebanese population and political parties.
With the country already grappling with an economic crisis that has pushed 80% of its citizens into poverty, frustration has grown, leading many political parties to call for the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland.
The issue of Syrian refugees has become a complex and sensitive one for Lebanon. While the country has provided shelter for a significant number of Syrians, the strain on resources and the deteriorating economic conditions have exacerbated tensions.
Nasrallah's call to allow Syrian refugees to leave for Europe underscores the urgent need for a comprehensive solution that addresses the humanitarian needs of the refugees and the concerns of the Lebanese population.
As Lebanon continues to navigate this challenging situation, international cooperation and support will be crucial. The European countries mentioned by Nasrallah may indeed play a pivotal role in finding a sustainable resolution that ensures the well-being of Syrian refugees while alleviating the burden on Lebanon.