Lebanon’s Palestinian Refugees Protest Amid Syrian Violence Spill-Over
Dozens of Palestinians in Lebanon’s Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp, near the southern town of Sidon, protested Sunday over recent conflicts that resulted in the death of a Palestinian teen near a refugee camp in north Lebanon. Protesters called for a committee to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of 15-year-old Ahmad Qassem near the the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, who was killed after a stand-off between locals and the Lebanese Army. The protest included members of the camp’s popular committees and was organized by the Independent Palestinian Forum, an independent youth organization.
Meanwhile, Kataeb Party leader Amin Gemayel criticized Syria this weekend for “seeking to relieve pressure of its crisis by causing unrest in Lebanon,” reported the Daily Star. “What is occurring along the Syria-Lebanon border, be it in the Bekaa or the north, is very serious. We see precursors to draw Lebanon into what is taking place in Syria. Preparations by the [Syrian] regime are under way to link Shiite areas with Alawites to create breathing space [for Syria] in Lebanon,” Gemayel told Dubai TV.
Reuters reports that unless Lebanon’s deeply divided leaders can put aside their disputes, the country indeed risks being pulled into the violence that has begun to spill over from Syria. “If, God forbid, something happened in Lebanon I do not think there would be anyone to help. There would be an absurd war among the Lebanese in which everyone would lose,” Interior Minister Marwan Charbel told Reuters.