After a fire attack on Civil Defense firefighters on Wednesday, said to be committed by Syrian refugees, the entire refugee settlement in Baalbek’s Deir el Ahmar has been displaced, leaving hundreds without their important personal belongings and without a roof over their heads.
The event that instigated the displacement occurred Wednesday after several men from the camp allegedly assaulted a group of Civil Defense firefighters and threw rocks at their truck, leaving one member severely injured. Following the attack, the Lebanese Army raided the camp, taking in 33 Syrian men into custody.
According to local news outlets, the attack occurred as a result of the Civil Defense’s delay in responding to extinguish a fire that had sparked within the camp.
On the other hand, according to UNHCR spokesperson Lisa Abou Khaled, several refugees had claimed that the attack was a result of a Civil Defense vehicle driving through two tents, one of which contained children.
After the incident on Wednesday, Deir el Ahmar Mayor Latif Qazah had implored security forces to forcibly remove the refugees in the camp.
“We are pressuring them to leave our area. Let them get out of this area and may God be with them,” he said.
However, Abou Khaled has opposed the idea of punishing the camp as a whole, stating that it would only escalate the conflict between the parties.
Many of the refugees who fled the site did so without taking along important belongings, such as identification documents and medicine. They have not yet been allowed to return to their tents to retrieve their items.
Presently, the refugees are under a restriction of movement issued by Baalbek-Hermel Governor Bachir Khodr. What will ensue remains unclear.