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SOUTH LEBANON

Aktanit residents demand expulsion of Syrian refugees following murder of 17-year-old

Aktanit residents demand expulsion of Syrian refugees following murder of 17-year-old

A Syrian suspect arrested by the Lebanese Army for the murder of Elie Michel Matta, 17, is shown in this photo released by the army on Nov. 26, 2022. (Credit: Lebanese Army website)

BEIRUT — Residents of Aktanit town in South Lebanon demanded on Sunday the expulsion of Syrian refugees residing in the town following the murder of a young boy, allegedly at the hands of two Syrians, L'Orient Today's correspondent in South Lebanon reported.

The Lebanese Army announced on Saturday that it had arrested a Syrian suspect, identified by the initials A.A., and his accomplice H.A., also Syrian, in relation to the murder of Elie Michel Matta, 17, in his home village of Aktanit in the Saida region.

On Friday, an army intelligence patrol led to the arrest of A.A., suspected of being involved in the murder of the young man on Thursday, the army statement explained, adding that a second suspect had also been arrested.

According to the medical examiner, the victim was stabbed about 30 times at his home and then thrown from its roof. The investigation into the murder continues.

Following the arrest, residents of Aktanit town demanded that the displaced Syrians residing in the town leave it, according to our correspondent.

Meanwhile, the state-run National News Agency reported that Former MP Emile Rahma on Sunday condemned the killing of the young boy and considered in a statement, "What happened is a brutal crime that killed an innocent, peaceful citizen, which brought tragedy to the life of a Lebanese family that was striving and struggling to provide a decent life for him and his two sisters."

Former minister Wadih el-Khazen also commented on this case, calling to "hang the gallows to deter the terrorist wave" in Lebanon.

The presence of an estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon is increasingly perceived as a burden, as evidenced by the government’s rhetoric in recent months and its ramped up efforts to send Syrians back to their country despite many watchdog groups' reports testifying that for many Syrians such a return remains unsafe.

Many municipalities in Lebanon practice discriminatory measures against Syrian residents in their communities, and several serious incidents have illustrate the extent of anti-Syrian rhetoric.

On July 25, the son of a generator owner in Mansourieh, Mount Lebanon, allegedly shot at several Syrians after accusing them of illegally connecting to his electricity network.

In November of last year, some 270 Syrian refugee families were driven out of Bsharri, in the north, after an altercation involving a Syrian worker accused of killing a local resident.

And the following month, in December 2021, Lebanese youths set fire to an informal camp near Bhanin, also in North Lebanon, following an altercation between one of their own and Syrian workers. According to UNHCR, more than 370 Syrians were forced to leave their tents, which were ravaged by the fire.

Additional reporting by Muntasser Abdallah


BEIRUT — Residents of Aktanit town in South Lebanon demanded on Sunday the expulsion of Syrian refugees residing in the town following the murder of a young boy, allegedly at the hands of two Syrians, L'Orient Today's correspondent in South Lebanon reported.The Lebanese Army announced on Saturday that it had arrested a Syrian suspect, identified by the initials A.A., and his accomplice H.A.,...