BEIRUT, Lebanon — Four hundred Syrians who were trying to fly to Turkey were stopped at the Beirut airport on Friday and were being forced to return to Damascus instead, in a chaotic episode that illustrated how options are narrowing for those trying to flee the war in Syria.
The state-run National News Agency of Lebanon said that the passengers were being turned back because of new Turkish regulations that require Syrians to have a visa to enter the country by air or sea. The new rules, which took effect Friday, close off what had been one of the easiest ways out of the country for Syrians who could afford airfare or ferry tickets, and a primary route for those planning to try to reach Western Europe on smugglers’ boats.
It was not clear how many of the 400 passengers were refugees.
Many of those turned back on Friday had apparently been rushing to reach Turkey before the new visa rules took effect. Border crossings between Syria and Lebanon have been crowded in recent days with people intending to travel on to Turkey. (It is not possible now to fly there directly from Syria.)
Human rights groups quickly raised the question of whether the deportations violated Lebanon’s international obligation to refrain from sending refugees back to countries where they may be in danger.
“By forcibly returning more than 100 refugees to Syria, the Lebanese government has stooped to a shocking new low, and is putting these people in mortal danger,” said Sherif Elsayed-Ali of Amnesty International, referring to the first of several batches of passengers being sent back to Damascus. “This is an outrageous breach of Lebanon’s international obligations to protect all refugees fleeing bloodshed and persecution in Syria. The Lebanese government must halt all further deportations of refugees from Syria immediately.”
Pour lire la suite : http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/09/world/middleeast/hundreds-of-syrians-are-turned-back-at-beirut-airport.html