Syria rejects 1,700 returning refugees over links to rebels

Photo: Syria rejects 1,700 returning refugees over links to rebels
 / Arab World

Around 1,700 Syrian refugees leaving Lebanon were barred from Syrian territory Thursday, over relations with anti-regime fighters, a security source said.

Approximately 500 undocumented elderly, 400 children and 800 women returning from the northeast Lebanon town of Arsal were blocked from entering their home country after they admitted to being relatives of rebel troops, according to the source, The Daily Star reported.

Media reports said the problem was due to the lack of documents, but The Daily Star's source said the political element of the story was the most critical.

The source said that due to its large size, the convoy was attempting to use the legal crossing at Masnaa between the two countries, which meant an authorization would be needed from the Syrian regime. Arriving at the Masnaa crossing, the convoy was told it could not go back to their home country over "lack of necessary documents."

However, according to the source, the Lebanese authorities communicated with their Syrian counterparts to solve the Numerous Syrian refugees in Lebanon are expected to get stuck in a similar situation, with thousands of undocumented families afraid of being punished for relatives' participation in the war.

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