Sunday, January 27, 2013

Syria's Assad regime flexing muscle

by F. Michael Maloof 

“We are coordinating with the foreign minister and the Lebanese government on finding common ground that guarantees the best care and safe return of Syrian refugees to areas the government is rebuilding in a swift manner,” said Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Abel-Karim Ali.
Ali had met with Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour to discuss moving some of the tens of thousands of Syrian refugees who fled the violence but have been living under harsh conditions in tents and makeshift shelters against the bitter cold in Lebanon’s Baqa’a Valley.
“Syria is the only safe haven for its citizens, providing them with more dignity than any other country,” Ali said.
Mansour said his government wants to guarantee the return of the refugees only to safe areas in Syria.
One concern by Ali was the possibility of some refugees smuggling in arms and gunmen.
“We don’t mean expelling the refugees, but that Syria has increased safety by a large percentage in its areas, as extremist and terrorist groups have become weaker,” Ali said.
Currently, there are more than 200,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon, where services on a good day for its own citizens are stretched. While Lebanon has sought some $180 million to provide aid to the Syrian refugees now in Lebanon, few donations from outside have been forthcoming, according to sources. Read More:

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