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A Statement on the Violations Committed by the Lebanese Army against the Syrian Refugees

Oct 24th, 2014

Violations Documentation Center in Syria    

A Statement on the Violations Committed by the Lebanese Army against the Syrian Refugees

Acts of killings, mass arrest campaigns, and burning of Syrian refugee camps.

Violations Documentation Center in Syria

October 2014

Background:

The ambush that was set by the Lebanese Army for Imad Jomaa Abu Ahmed, Commander of the so-called "Dawn of Islam Brigade"[1] on 2nd August 2014 near the Lebanese town of Arsal was the first spark that ignited what was called "Arsal Crisis" and the following subsequences including the military operations between the group's members on the one hand and the Lebanese Army on the other hand. Those operations started by an attack carried out by a number of armed men, who were believed to be members of al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant "Daash". The attack enabled those armed groups detain more than twenty Lebanese soldiers and kill many others. Attempts to settle things down started immediately afterwards, however, they failed. They were also followed by violent clashes between the Lebanese Amy and those armed groups.

A doctor, who preferred to remain anonymous, stated that the so-called "Arsal First Crisis" was fabricated by some parties opposing the Syrian presence in Lebanon and that the incident of Imad Jomaa was just the beginning. The doctor has provided our center by names of more than sixty victims who were killed during the clashes. However, he stressed that the total number mounted to 100 victims including civilian children and women and fighters, who were targeted by the Lebanese Army.

Arsal Second Crisis:

On 09/19/2014, an explosion of a Lebanese machinery, a reason of which was unknown, caused the death of two Lebanese soldiers and the injury of four others, according to an eyewitness who added that locals of Arsal, in addition to Syrian refugees hospitalized the victims to a field hospital. Following this incident, the Lebanese Army came and took the injured. After that, there have been storming to several camps in Arsal[2], during which more than 250 Syrian refugees have been detained, 113 of whom are still in custody. It was reported that one of those detainees, named Ahmad Muhammad Durra, from Jrajeer, Damascus Suburbs, was tortured to death.

Ahmad was one of the refugees who had been arrested from Azot Camp on that same day. Other detainees were reported to be killed under torture. However, we could not confirm their death yet.

Random Arrests and Burning of Dozens of Refugees' Tents:

On 25th September 2014, at about five o'clock in the morning, hundreds of heavily equipping soldiers of the Lebanese Army, who are believed to be from the Airborne Regiment, brutally stormed many Syrian refugee camps including "From Here Syrians Passed Camp" in Raas al-Berj district in Arsal, al-Sanabel Camp, al-Bunian Camp, Asal al-Ward Camp, and al-Shuhadaa Camp.

Activist Mohammed Zein, Abu Mustafa, 55 years, a school principle in Arsal, and a resident of Qusair city in Homs, told VDC that a large number of the Lebanese Army soldiers have broken into several camps, the first of which was "From Here Syrians Passed". They took all the families out of their tents, beat, intimidate and humiliate them while opening heavy fire in the air. After that, they gathered all males aged between 10 to 80 years, took off their clothes and handcuffed them. Then, they arrested more than 210 civilians, most of whom were subjected to beatings with whips. According to our sources, they were taken to a military location called "Ablah."

Abu Mustafa added: "After arresting dozens of refugees in the camp, the soldiers went to al-Sanabel Camp, which contains more than eighty tents. They burned more than sixty of them, and arrested more than 230 refugees, only twelve of whom were released later. This was accompanied by insulting the refugees, especially the elderly and the women. "

One of VDC members, who resides in Beqaa region, said that the progress achieved recently by the Syrian opposition armed groups in al-Qalamoun area was the likely reason behind the outbreak of "Arsal Crises" because it led to great discontent on the part of the Lebanese Hezbollah, which appeared to have a major role in inflaming the situation in the refugee camps although the Lebanese Army had completely had separated the Lebanese region of Arsal and the Syrian Qalamoun. Our aforementioned member has conducted several interviews with eyewitnesses, who reported that the Lebanese Army has stormed several camps, arrested hundreds of Syrians and killed two: Karam Abdel Karim Zein, 60 years, and Mohammed Zahra from Qalamoun. Not only the Lebanese Army soldiers have burned dozens of camps, but also they have attacked private property of Syrian refugees. Such attacks included running over refugee's cars and motorbikes by armored vehicles. In the evening, about 20 detainees were released, while hundreds of others were kept in custody on charges of belonging to jihadist organizations, led by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant "Daash."

In this regard, refugee Abu Zakaria, told VDC that the Lebanese Army had stormed the camp he lived in (al-Ward Camp, one of the centers affiliated to the Union of Relief and Development Associations) during the early hours of morning. They ordered all men and women to get out of the tents. Beating them with batons and bottoms of their guns, they handcuffed all the men and made ​​them semi-naked in front of women then put nylon bags on their heads. He added:

"We were taken to Raas al-Jabal area in Arsal, near an army barrack, where they put us in holes designed for armored vehicles and began insulting us. They accused us of being members of Daash and al-Nusra Front. They also swore they would tread on our heads and abuse us sexually, we were (258) detainees."

According to Doctor Qassem Zein, born in Qusair city in Homs in 1965, dozens of cases were hospitalized to the Medical Commission in Arsal, the medical point where he worked, including many cases of suffocation and a challenged girl whose face and hands were burned as a result of setting fire in the tents of al-Sanabel Camp by the Lebanese Army. He also said that at about two o'clock, several detainees were released. He examined seven of them and found traces of torture on their bodies as they were subjected to severe beatings after they had been taken to al-Laboyeh district near Arsal.

Images of some of the released detainees with traces of torture on their bodies as a result of the assault of the Lebanese Army.

An elderly injured who was detained on 25 September 2014 within the arresting campaign launched by the Lebanese Army. He was released after being beaten severely by the stock of a gun.

The Violation Documentation Center in Syria strongly condemns these systematic violations and atrocities against the Syrian refugees at the hands of the Lebanese Army on its territory, demanding the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Committee of the Red Cross to shoulder their responsibilities and carry out their duties towards the protection of Syrian refugees in Lebanon in the light of the world's preoccupation with the military strikes carried out by the United States in Syria, which allowed the Lebanese Army to take advantage of this situation and some Lebanese parties to obtain some political gains at the expense of the plight of the Syrian refugees. It also calls the concerned parties to immediately release all detainees who have been arrested arbitrarily, stop the burning of the camps and safely transfer those proven guilty of violating the laws of "the Lebanese State" to the Lebanese courts according to the law.

A list of the refugees who have recently been arrested by the Lebanese Army. This list does not include those who were arrested on 19 September 2014:

  1. Abdulraheem Talib, 80 years, Homs
  2. Abdulwahed Abdulraheem Talib, Homs
  3. Muhammad Abdulraheem Talib, Homs
  4. Mahmoud Abdulraheem Talib, Homs
  5. Hassan Bakkar, Homs
  6. Khaled Hasan al-Wao
  7. Mustafa Ismael Harba
  8. Yahya Abdulkareem Darweesh
  9. Abdulsalam Muhammad Jarban
  10. Mudar Muhammad Ali al-Masri
  11. Majed Mudar al-Masri
  12. Nidal Abdulsalam Jarban
  13. Faisal Muhammad Ghazi Kazan
  14. Sameer Muhammad Zoubi
  15. Samer Muhammad Zoubi
  16. Alaa Husni Khudr
  17. Sulaiman Qubais Shaddadi
  18. Ahmad Bari al-Issa
  19. Urwa Muhammad Zeitoun
  20. Abdulwahab Abdulkhaleq Harba
  21. Muhammad Khudr al-Faraj
  22. Dujan Qubais Shaddadi
  23. Faisal Qubais Shaddadi
  24. Sulaiman Qubais Shaddadi
  25. Ahmad Muhammad al-Atar
  26. Muhammad Amin al-Dayekh
  27. Muhammad Ali Jomruk
  28. Jihad Ahmad Ammar
  29. Rifaat Mustafa Matar
  30. Zakaria Abdullah Mansour
  31. Abdullah Ghazi Ismael
  32. Jaqob Ghazi Ismael
  33. Mahmoud Berri Issa
  34. Khaled Berri Issa
  35. Fadi Berri Issa
  36. Adnan Abdulhamid Turekmani
  37. Taha Adnan Abbara
  38. Muhammad Adnan Abbara
  39. Khaled Fahmi Mando
  40. Ghanem Khalef Hussein
  41. Amir Abdulsater Arab
  42. Imad Tawfiq Arab
  43. Amer Tawfiq Arab
  44. Muhammad Hasan Haswa
  45. Ahmad Abdulkhaleq Haswa
  46. Ashraf Abdulhamid Zahouri
  47. Ahmad Mustafa Haswa
  48. Maher Sulaiman Shaddadi
  49. Yaseen Abdullah Zahouri
  50. Ward Faydi Harba
  51. Khaled Omar Fadel
  52. Ahmad Sulaiman Ammar
  53. Adnan Muhammad Ammar
  54. Fidaa Yahya Amer
  55. Jamal Omar Amer
  56. Khaled Abdulraheem Bouzan
  57. Ahmad Abbas Harfoush
  58. Muhammad Abdulkareem Hamoud
  59. Mahmoud al-Breesh
  60. Ahmad Fayyad
  61. Muhammad Ahmad Awad
  62. Ziad Ismael
  63. Ibraheem Hasan Raad
  64. Hasan Muhammad Ali Wao
  65. Issa Ahmad Matar
  66. Rodwan Hamdan

To view all the names documented by VDC, please visit the link:

http://goo.gl/otcLj5


  1. A video, that hasn't been checked by VDC yet, showed a group of gunmen claiming to be members of the Dawn of Islam Brigade declaring "allegiance" to the Khalifa of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant "Daash."
  2. Arsal has more than 62 refugee camps for Syrians, containing no less than 150 families in each camp.