Lebanon is facing calls to expel all Syrian refugees after a young woman was raped and murdered by a migrant who was working as her concierge.
A Syrian national identified only by his initials as BH is thought to have raped and killed 26-year-old Lebanese national Rhea Chidiac inside her home in northern Lebanon.
He came to Lebanon three years ago and worked for the victim’s family and had intended to steal money from the house.
But when he entered the family mansion and found Ms Chidiac alone, he allegedly raped her and then suffocated her.
A Syrian refugee in Lebanon talks to a reporter. She would be one of those forced to leave if Lebanese authorities agree with angry residents
‘The Syrian citizen who came to Lebanon three years ago worked as a concierge for the Chidiac family was arrested by the Lebanese police’ the TV network LBC reported.
The rape and murder has caused anger among residents towards Syrian refugees, who came to Lebanon at the beginning of the Syrian war.
Despite a small number trickling back to their home country just a few kilometres away there are still an estimated 2million in Lebanon.
Residents of the northern town of Miziara have now called on the Lebanese authorities to expel all displaced Syrians living in their town as unrest swept through the northern town following the crime.
On social media, many vented their anger, while trying to find solace in the incident.
‘I don’t know why people are surprised that this is happening.’
‘Most of the Syrians who are now refugees or working as janitors, helpers, etc are uneducated and have financial difficulties’, one commented.
‘Add to that, years of civil war with no income, you’ve got yourself a recipe for disaster’, he added.
The arrival of Syrian refugees into Lebanon has imposed huge economic and social burdens on the country, according to Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri who earlier in the year talked of a ‘breaking point’.
Residents of the northern town of Miziara have now called on the Lebanese authorities to expel all displaced Syrians living in their town, like the one pictured, as unrest swept through the northern town following the crime.
A young Syrian boy poses for a photograph in Lebanon. He would be forced to leave if the angry locals have their way
Speaking to foreign media Hariri said: ‘Today, if you go around most of the host communities, there is huge tension between the Lebanese and the Syrians.
‘I fear civil unrest.’
The remarks came as the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) said in a report in April that the number of refugees who have fled the civil war in Syria since it broke out in 2011, now exceeds five million.
Refugees from Syria make up about a quarter of Lebanon’s population.
They mostly live in informal camps across the country, some, in severe poverty.
Indeed, it is that extreme poverty which is also to be blamed for the cases of appalling crimes to be committed both within the refugee communities and outside in the towns, where Syrian refugees are employed for as little as 6 pounds sterling a day.
According to a report last year by a UK slavery organization, an alarming number of young Syrian women were providing sexual favours to their bosses, whilst the study also revealed that the majority of sex workers in Lebanon were Syrian refugees.
The study also exposed an alarming number of child workers who were leaving farms to enter a world of sexual enslavement or forced marriage, often as young as twelve years old.