Abu Ahmed, a Syrian merchant is selling Qur’anic pamphlets while keeping an eye for the police and also for buyers. He came to central Beirut since the war started in his homeland. Like Ahmed, many refugees are facing permanent exile. However, as the seven –year long war coming to an end, Ahmed feels that his safe haven is in trouble. Politicians from Beirut, Damascus, and Amman are asserting with increasing intensity that the refugees who fled their country can now safely return back to their ruined homeland. However, few Syrian refugees agree with the claim. Even international donors, diplomats, and aid providers are suspicious of the demand placed by the politicians that postwar Syria is safe. They also doubt the claims being made by the politicians.
During the war, the adherence of the political class of Lebanon was divided on Syria. Half of the parliament opposed to Assad and some jarring behind him. Assad’s government is now in a winning position as it is getting support from Russia and Iran. Some allies are also bidding Assad.
Even the Lebanese foreign minister stated that they are calling friendly nations to handle the matter of Syria in a friendly manner. Lebanon doesn’t want its economy to cripple because of the huge influx of migrants. As many parts of Syria are safe, migrants should return back.
Jordan’s monarch also shifted his attitude towards the refugees. His welcoming gesture has been replaced by increasing hostility and forced deportations. The monarch told the UN Commission that the crisis of Syria took a huge toll on the infrastructure, economy education of Jordan.
Syrian refugees came to Lebanon as they had no other choices. However, they won’t be safe if they head back to Syria till Assad is in power. They face the risk of being arrested or detained, tortured and executed. Hence, if the refugees are forced to return to Syria, it would be their death knell.
The claim that the economy of Lebanon has taken a toll because of the refugees is contradictory. The refugees are spending money and it has bolstered the economy of Lebanon. Refugees who went back to Syria have faced intense vetting from security forces and detention; especially from the opposition held areas.