Unsafe for Syrian refugees to return as along as Assad is in power, says U.K. ambassador

British Ambassador Hugo Shorter
British Ambassador Hugo Shorter

BEIRUT: British  Am­bas­sador to Le­banon Hugo Shorter warned   in an interview this week that it would not be safe to re­turn refugees from Le­banon,  as long as  Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar As­sad re­mains in power, Lebanese media reported

Shorter warned that the “tremen­dous bru­tal­ity” of the regime was a stum­bling block to a po­lit­i­cal set­tle­ment or refugee re­turn.

“The As­sad regime … has bar­rel-bombed its own pop­u­la­tion, has gassed its own pop­u­la­tion, starved its own pop­u­la­tion. I don’t see how any part of Syria where As­sad is still in charge can be some­where th­ese refugees who have fled here [to Le­banon] are go­ing to be able, safely, re­turn to and feel com­fort­able about re­turn­ing to,” he said.

The am­bas­sador re­it­er­ated the U.K. gov­ern­ment’s long-held stance that calls for  As­sad to step aside. How­ever, when asked how the U.K. would ne­go­ti­ate if As­sad doesn’t va­cate his post, Shorter said sim­ply: “We don’t ac­cept that sce­nario.”

“We con­tinue to say that for real sta­bi­liza­tion, re­con­struc­tion to hap­pen in Syria there needs to be clear tran­si­tion un­der­way away from the As­sad regime,” he stressed.

Commenting on claims by pro-Syrian politicians that the country is now safe  enough  to be­gin this process  of their return  he said  this is  “misrepresentation of  what is  actually hap­pen­ing there.”

President Michel Aoun and other pro-Syrian politicians   have been calling for the return of the refugees ,  claiming that 85 % of Syria is now in the hands of the regime , while March 14 politicians have been warning about such a premature move, while Assad is in power .

Aoun is a stanch ally of  the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militant group and the Syrian regime

The am­bas­sador cau­tioned against rush­ing the re­turn of Syr­ian refugees, say­ing this was a process that had to be done cor­rectly. “I think there’s a risk of go­ing down the wrong track with a pre­ma­ture de­ci­sion [to re­turn Syr­ian refugees] which ev­ery­one will live to re­gret.”

Le­banon is cur­rently host­ing over 1.5 mil­lion refugees from Syria.

Shorter also  ex­pressed s con­cerns about Hezbol­lah’s grow­ing re­gional in­flu­ence.

“We’re ex­tremely con­cerned by Hezbol­lah’s re­gional ac­tiv­i­ties, desta­bi­liz­ing ac­tiv­i­ties that have fu­eled con­flict in Syria, Ye­men and Iraq. Here in Le­banon, there is a de­ci­sion for the Le­banese peo­ple as a whole as to what kind of coun­try they want to live in,” he said.

Touch­ing on re­cent U.S. and Is­raeli rhetoric re­gard­ing Hezbol­lah and its re­la­tion­ship to the state – par­tic­u­larly re­cent com­ments that the two were now in­dis­tin­guish­able, mak­ing the Le­banese state a le­git­i­mate tar­get in fu­ture con­flicts – the U.K. am­bas­sador called on all par­ties to step back in or­der for diplo­macy to pre­vail.

“That kind of rhetoric on both sides is not help­ful to­ward main­tain­ing sta­bil­ity here,” he said.

“I don’t be­lieve that any form of mil­i­tary con­fronta­tion or con­flict is ul­ti­mately the way to guar­an­tee sta­bil­ity over the long term … There is a ques­tion of how at some point di­a­log can be made to hap­pen in a con­struc­tive way but that to my view is the cen­tral ques­tion.”



13 responses to “Unsafe for Syrian refugees to return as along as Assad is in power, says U.K. ambassador”

  1. Aoun called for Syrian refugees to be sent back with no strings attached.
    “I have told President Macron (during an visit to France last) how urgent it is that they’re sent back to Syria, especially seeing as most places they’ve come from are now safe,” the Lebanese president said.
    “We don’t want to wait for voluntary repatriation. From now on the UN should take the aid they’ve used to keep the refugees in camps, in terrible conditions, and use it to take them back home.”

    I dont understand why Lebanese officials saying in private that the official figure for Syrian refugees is actually an underestimation.
    They explaining that a large number of Syrians have not registered on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR)’s lists, the fact is that Lebanon has not signed up to the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention.

    1. Hind Abyad Avatar
      Hind Abyad

      Niemalade- Fritz Diedrichs https://twitter.com/durchsuchen: dug out a 2 years old YaLibnan article and made a fraudulent collage, how can you live with yourslef ?

  2. Hind Abyad Avatar
    Hind Abyad

    Shorter than Short: “We’re ex­tremely con­cerned by Hezbol­lah’s re­gional ac­tiv­i­ties, desta­bi­liz­ing ac­tiv­i­ties that have fu­eled con­flict in Syria, Ye­men and Iraq. Here in Le­banon, there is a de­ci­sion for the Le­banese peo­ple as a whole as to what kind of coun­try they want to live in,”.

    Love your lies..thats your Job..hahah…

  3. How is it that the countries that ‘produce’ most refugees https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2c74dba215b5272c9c5bca7b1df57081ce2a758232f3baede73dbcd0997997e6.jpg did not signed the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention?

  4. Niemals Avatar

    Some Syrians do not understand that by throwing the pass it creates consequences – they will be surprised to find that they will not be free from consequences.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/29fda2e44601279cd8ac4f361bd1cd9f07012f459c119b7b45f470713062de97.jpg the 65,000 people that were not deported from Germany last year because they had no travel documents will be surprised that by not helping to get a new passport, they will face penalties.

  5. Niemals Avatar

    Part 1.
    How come that each time I comment about refugees, it turns to [Hold on, this is waiting to be approved by Ya Libnan News.]
    When you talk about refugees, one can not ignore the Palestinian paradox.

    Palestinians suffering of a 70 years of perpetuating refugeeism, that no other folks are – how it can be accepted?

    The more the international community invested in the refugees of Palestine, the bigger the problem became.
    The international community invested in them more than it invested in any other refugee in the world, including the syrian refugees.

    1. Niemals Avatar

      Part 2.
      In order to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there is a need to drain the conflict’s biggest swamp – the refugee problem, held alive by many Muslim regimes
      Most of the refugees registered by UNRWA are no longer in refugee camps or don’t even exist.

      Only in the arab world they (Palestinian Arabs) are categorized as refugee, in the European Union they are EU citizens with Palestinian descendants.

      1. Niemals Avatar

        Part 3.
        The Arab world stubbornly refused to rehabilitate the refugees. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/54b2ddc106c11accbe9b5aee92893285b24241fe2308581ffa5a477d6f15f357.jpg (Photo: UNRWA Archive)
        It is well known that UNRWA started off with 711,000 refugees and UNRWA says it is dealing with 5.3 million today!?!

        1. Niemals Avatar

          Ending the comment (part 4)
          When the UNHCR was created it have dealt with 50 million refugees, none of whom are refugees today.
          UNRWA, on the other hand, hit the road with 711,000 refugees and says it is dealing with 5.3 million today. Talk about a paradox.

  6. Hind Abyad Avatar
    Hind Abyad

    What useless Zio rag YaLibnan became..

    “Now with the whole city under the control of the SAA, the Damascus government can work to provide basic services for the civilians there, similar to what it did in Aleppo and Eastern Ghouta before”.

    1. yalibnan is not your hateful private property, silly cow

  7. Hind Abyad Avatar
    Hind Abyad

    “British Ambassador Hugo Shorter”

    Selection from Victor Hugo’s Shorter Poems embraces a large number of his Choicest Lyrics, classified … Antiquities of the Jews; the Wars of the Jews, &c…&c.

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