Lebanese protesters torch Syrian refugee tents in Arsal following soldier beheading

Published September 7th, 2014 - 08:21 GMT

Angry Lebanese nationals reportedly torched tents that were housing Syrian refugees after news emerged on the beheading of another Lebanese soldier by Islamist gunmen who overran the northeastern border town of Arsal in August.

MTV reported on Sunday that enraged protesters set ablaze tents for Syrian refugees residing in encampments in Beirut's southern suburb neighborhood of al-Lailaki and Hay al-Sellom.

Other refugees were given an ultimatum to leave the towns they are residing.

LBCI also said that furious protesters torched tents for Syrians in an informal campsite in the Bekaa town of Brital.

On Saturday, several pro-jihadist Twitter accounts published gruesome pictures apparently showing Islamic State militants beheading a second Lebanese army soldier, around ten days after the same group executed captive army sergeant Ali al-Sayyed.

The so-called Qalamun branch of the Islamic State also published a statement confirming the execution of 20-year-old army soldier, Abbas Medlej, after he reportedly tried to escape.

Medlej hailed from a large Shiite clan from the eastern city of Baalbek.

About two dozen more members of the country's security forces remain held captive by the militants. They were seized in August when several Syrian rebel factions, including the Islamic State group and al-Qaida linked Nusra Front, overran Arsal, killing and kidnapping soldiers and policemen in the most serious spillover yet of the neighboring civil war.

The captured soldiers and police are from country's many religious sects.

The family of Medlej issued a statement late on Saturday calling for warding off sedition and preventing takfiris from infiltrating the country and achieving their goals.

As news broke that Medlej was executed, angry protesters took to the streets and blocked roads in Beirut's southern suburbs, Bekaa's Ablah, al-Labweh, al-Ain, and the northern town of Halba.

There are fears that Syrian refugees would be assaulted in retaliation to the beheading of the two army soldiers, however, the Islamic groups warned of any revenge act.

Hosting more than 1.1 million Syrians fleeing their country's three-year war, Lebanon is home to the highest number of Syrian refugees in the region, and also to the highest refugee population per capita in the world.


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