Where Is the Lebanese Flag? First Official Visit to Syria Prompts Questions

Published September 6th, 2021 - 09:03 GMT
Zeina Akar and Faisal Mekdad
Zeina Akar and Faisal Mekdad featured the first official meetings between the countries in 10 years. (Twitter: @MohanadHageAli)

During the first official visit paid by Lebanese officials to Syria in 10 years, photos from the meeting have stirred online controversies over the Syrian definition of Lebanese sovereignty.

The visit was supposed to bring Lebanon and Syria closer, after 10 years of interruptions caused by the Syrian war. Yet, the first photos that came out of the meeting between the Lebanese minister of foreign affairs Zeina Akar and her Syrian counterpart Faisal Al-Mekdad, have come under fire after Lebanese commentators noticed the absence of their national flag while two Syrian flags were erected across the room.

Online people protested the move assuming it was deliberate, highlighting the history of Syrian military presence in Lebanon which was due to the Syrian government approach, disregarding the Lebanese sovereignty.

Some comments questioned the Syrian position on Lebanon, wondering if the Assad regime still regards Lebanon as a "subordinate."

Social media commentators also criticized their foreign minister arguing that she should have acted immediately in demand of a Lebanese flag to show equal relations between both countries.
Syrian troops had entered Lebanon during the Lebanese civil war between 1975-1990.

However, Syrian officials continued to ignore Lebanese requests of withdrawal after the end of the war, causing major tensions between the two neighboring countries.

Syria only agreed to fully withdraw its troops in 2005 after the mass protests that took to the streets in the wake of the assassination of the Lebanese Prime Minister and leading politician Rafik Hariri in February 2004, of which the Syrian government was accused.

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