Lebanon said Tuesday it will not forcibly return Syrian refugees to their home country.
"We will not force any displaced Syrian to return to Syria," General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim told a press conference in the capital Beirut.
Ibrahim denied any foreign pressure on Lebanon on the return of Syrian refugees to Syria. “We will continue to implement our repatriation plan as it is and we will not bow to pressure,” he added.
The Lebanese security chief termed the return of Syrian refugees to their home country as a “national issue”.
“There are people who are about to lose their history, culture and territory and we will not participate in this massacre,” he added.
Lebanese authorities are set to resume the repatriation of Syrian refugees to Syria as of Wednesday after a 3-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Lebanese government plans to return 15,000 Syrian refugees to Syria every month, but the plan was met with criticism from the United Nations, which says that security in Syria has not yet been restored.
Lebanon hosts around 1.5 million Syrian refugees, about 900,000 of whom are registered at UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).