Minister Gebran Bassil, met with the Syrian Ambassador in Lebanon, Ali Abdul Karim Ali, with discussions reportedly touching on the growing refugee crisis in Lebanon.
Ali derided as a sham what had been published in documents about hundreds of Lebanese nationals that had been executed in Syrian jails, dismissing the entire matter as sheer lies and fabrications. When asked about the whereabouts of Ali and Rifaat Eid, and whether they have escaped to Syria, Ali said he was not aware of the matter.
“The Syrian government is more than willing to coordinate with the Lebanese government,” Ali said, confirming as well the Syrian Embassy’s keenness on its nationals who are currently residing on Lebanese territories.
“Both countries’ security institutions are contributing to solving the Lebanese crisis handling Syrian refugees, as well as to mitigate the sufferings of Syrian nationals in Lebanon and Syria,” added Ali, pledging continued cooperation with Minister Bassil and the Lebanese government.
Concerning the fact that the number of registered Syrian refugees in Lebanon has exceeded one million, Ali said that that was Lebanon’s responsibility more than it was Syria’s liability.
“In your capacity as journalists, I’m sure you have followed up on foreign intervention in support of Syrian refugees. The associations that were established, even funds allocated by Gulf countries, were all an attempt to bargain at the expense of Syrian refugees rather than support them,” Ali said.
However, the Syrian diplomat added that Syria was keen on seeking solutions and facilitating matters related to the Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Responding to a question on how he expects the Lebanese economy to handle the burden of Syrian refugees when it’s not enough to support the Lebanese themselves, Ali said what mattered most was manners by which Syrians were being treated in Lebanon. Moreover, Ali said that Syrians were welcomed back to their homeland.
“There are residential units that are being constructed in Syria and there are safe territories provided with aid and support.” As for Lebanon’s request to build Syrian refugee camps inside the Syrian side of the Lebanese – Syrian borders, Ali refused to call them “camps”.
“Those are huge residential compounds that are safe, especially that the situation is gradually going back to normal,” he said.