The Lebanese authorities sought to contain the repercussions of an attack on Christian cemeteries in Deir al-Ahmar, in eastern Lebanon, in light of the political escalation towards the displaced Syrians in Lebanon, as the various security agencies and the Lebanese army strengthened their presence in the border town with Syria, and launched extensive investigations to uncover the perpetrators and reveal their circumstances.
The people of Deir al-Ahmar woke up to destroy Christian cemeteries, and the aggressors broke crosses and destroyed the cemetery. On social media, Lebanese circulated pictures of the attack, which took place on Friday night, and was carried out by unknown persons.
Calls for restraint escalated, the most prominent of which came from the governor of Baalbek Hermel, Bashir Khader, who said on Twitter: “After the attack on the cemeteries, I call on our people in Deir al-Ahmar to exercise the strictest degrees of restraint, and await the results of the investigation. They will arrest the perpetrators.”
A patrol of the Internal Security Forces in the Deir al-Ahmar faction discovered the sites of the attack and opened an investigation into the incident, while reinforcements of the Lebanese army and patrols of the General Directorate of State Security were seen in the town.
While the municipality did not point fingers at anyone, security sources said that the hypotheses speak of two possibilities. The first of them is a part of the town that has already caused confusion in light of the crisis with the displaced Syrians in it. As for the second possibility, it talks about a displaced Syrian who entered illegally and infiltrated the town, and considers himself affected by the municipality’s procedures that demand the displaced residents within its scope to settle their affairs and confirm their papers, to reveal the arrivals who They enter it.
The mayor of Deir al-Ahmar, Latif al-Qazah, downplayed the importance of the attack that took place last night (Friday), and told Asharq al-Awsat that the attack on cemeteries in the town of Deir al-Ahmar “is not as big as some people portray it, or as big as what the media portrays.” He added, “The attack took place on my grandfather’s grave.” He explained: “Unidentified persons broke a number of crosses, which are not of a large size, then we instructed the municipal police to do their part, and we submitted a report at the Deir al-Ahmar faction police station, and we claimed an unknown person, and in the event that the aggressor was revealed, we will not hesitate to pursue the aggressors.” He added, “We are awaiting an investigation to reveal what the perpetrator intended, and we hope that things will be in the right direction.”
Regarding possible accusations, Al-Qazah said: “We do not accuse any Syrians or non-Syrians before the investigation is completed, and we will support the findings of the investigation. So far, the Syrians are not the subject of accusations, and there may be others who work to fish in troubled waters, and we reject what happened.
The political forces and religious, municipal, voluntary and social actors in the Baalbek-Hermel region condemned the sinful attack on the cemeteries of Deir al-Ahmar. The attack raised fears of renewed tension between the Syrians and the Lebanese living in the municipality.
This comes in light of the Lebanese escalation towards the displaced. The head of the Lebanese Forces Party, Samir Geagea, stressed after his meeting with the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Lebanon, Omran Riza, that Lebanon “has endured a lot in order to rescue and shelter the Syrian people, but the situation today is no longer tolerable, and we must work together quickly, to move from organizing the survival of the displaced to organize their return.
And stressing that “Lebanon is a country of transit and not a country of asylum, according to an agreement signed with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 2003,” the head of the “forces” called on the international community to “build on recent regional developments in order to extricate Lebanon from this escalating crisis, considering That the issue has gone beyond the economic or humanitarian concept or the provision of aid, and has turned into a sovereign existential problem, and its solution has become the first priority, in order to prevent its exacerbation and to preserve the stability of the country on the one hand, and the region on the other hand.