Tue. May 28th, 2024

Hezbollah chief threatens to send millions of Middle Eastern refugees to the EU

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell May18,2024

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah threatened to send millions of Syrian refugees currently in Lebanon to the European Union. The head of the Lebanese militant group issued a stunning ultimatum during a lengthy TV address yesterday.

He demanded the US and Europe lift sanctions on Syria – or face an overwhelming migrant influx.

Lebanon currently hosts around two million people from neighbouring Syria — the world’s highest number of refugees per capita. An influx of that magnitude would spark a crisis in Europe, which is already struggling to cope with the number of arrivals.

Nasrallah called for “a national decision that says: we have opened the sea – whoever wants to leave for Europe, for Cyprus, the sea is in front of you”. Speaking to the Syrian refugees in Lebanon, he said: “Take a boat and board it.”

He clarified that Hezbollah would not force displaced Syrians to leave if they didn’t want to. This comes amid growing anti-Syrian sentiment in Lebanon, which has suffered from an economic crisis since 2019.

Earlier this month, the EU announced $1 billion (£797 million) in aid to Lebanon to help tackle irregular migration. However, many in the crisis-hit country see the aid package as payment to stop Syrian refugees from ever leaving Lebanon.

Nasrallah said that currently refugees “are prohibited from leaving, and so they turn to smuggling and to rubber boats, and there are drownings in the sea, because the Lebanese army is implementing a political decision to stop them from migrating”.

He said that Lebanon needs to tell the West to “coordinate with the Syrian government to send expatriates back to Syria and offer them assistance there”.

Cyprus, the EU’s easternmost member, is less than 200km from Lebanon and Syria, and wants to curb the arrival of migrant boats.

Meanwhile, Nasrallah also warned that Israel was facing a “historical dilemma” in its war in Gaza between defeat and an “abyss.”

He told Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV: “If it halts the war, it will be a major defeat; and it will move into an abyss if it continues the military battle.”

In the lengthy speech, Nasrallah told residents of northern Israel that they would not be able to return home for the start of the next school year if their government pressed on with its assault on the Gaza Strip.

Many Israelis in the north have been evacuated due to ongoing clashes between the IDF and Hezbollah fighters.

The armed group has said it is launching rockets at Israel both to support its ally, the Palestinian armed group Hamas, and to deter Israel from launching an attack on Lebanon.

The Hezbollah chief hailed Hamas’ October 7 attack on southern Israel for “revitalising the Palestinian cause”.

He pointed to global protests, including the university encampments in Europe and the US, adding: “Nowadays, Palestine and the Palestinian rights are being highlighted all over the world.”

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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One thought on “Hezbollah chief threatens to send millions of Middle Eastern refugees to the EU”
  1. Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah’s threat to send millions of Syrian refugees to the EU is alarming. It’s crucial for the US and Europe to address the root causes of migration rather than resorting to coercion. Lebanon’s hospitality should be respected, and solutions must prioritize the well-being of those affected by conflict.

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