Fact Check: Did The Central Bank Sell A Lebanese Town To Foreigners?

Fact Check_ Did The Lebanese Central Bank Sell A Town To Foreigners
Manarat Alarz

The Lebanese recently woke up to the unusual news that Lebanon is losing one of its villages after its central bank (Banque du Liban) decided to sell it to foreigners. Is this claim true?

Claim: The Banque du Liban (BDL) is selling the village of Tfail to a non-Lebanese buyer.

Verdict: False. The BDL denied the claim.

Context:

The BDL‘s Media and Public Relations Unit issued a statement in which it categorically denied “the information that is being circulated via social media that the Banque du Liban is selling the village of Tfail to non-Lebanese destinations.”

The statement stressed that the news “is completely false, as this property is still owned by the Banque du Liban.”

Tfail is one of Lebanon’s highest and most remote villages. With an estimated population of 5,000, it is located in the Baalbek District, around 3 km away from the eastern border with Syria.

Its adjacency to Syrian territory caused it to be generally neglected by Lebanese authorities and directly affected by the fighting during the Syrian civil war.

Its locals had to flee their homes during the war, particularly after it was bombed in 2014. It was also invaded and captured several times during the war.

Notably, because Tfail had for many years no paved routes to other Lebanese areas, its people would regularly enter Syrian territory for various needs, such as seeking medical attention and buying goods.

As a result, the Syrian pound became a currency that they relied upon heavily in their day-to-day affairs.

Notably, a similar claim that Tfail was sold to “a Syrian personality close to President Bashar Al-Assad” for over $20 billion surfaced in 2019. However, the claim was unsubstantiated as is this one.