Hundreds of Syrian refugees in Lebanon return home

A Syrian refugee cries next to her belongings as she waits to board a bus to take her home to Syria, in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. (AP )
Updated 03 December 2019

Hundreds of Syrian refugees in Lebanon return home

BEIRUT: Hundreds of Syrian refugees have headed home in the first batch to leave Lebanon since protests broke out in the small Arab country more than a month ago.
Since the early hours of Tuesday, scores of Syrians boarded buses in several locations in Lebanon before heading back to their hometowns in war-torn Syria.
Vanessa Moya of the UN refugee agency known as UNHCR, said some 225 Syrian refugees were scheduled to head back to Syria, raising the number to about 27,000 refugees who have returned to Syria over the past two years.
Thousands of Syrians have returned home from Lebanon since June 2018 as calm returns to parts of Syria.
Lebanon is hosting some 1 million Syrian refugees who fled their country after the war broke out eight years ago.


Anger at Erdogan’s ‘sea grab’ in the Mediterranean

Updated 06 December 2019

Anger at Erdogan’s ‘sea grab’ in the Mediterranean

  • Cyprus petitioned the International Court of Justice in The Hague on Thursday to safeguard its offshore mineral rights

ANKARA: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan faced growing anger on Thursday over Turkey’s “sea grab” in the Mediterranean.

Ankara signed a maritime border agreement last month with the Libyan government in Tripoli that gives Turkey control over a vast area of sea stretching from its southern coast to North Africa. The Turkish Parliament approved the deal last night.

The agreement gives Turkey lucrative rights to drill for oil and gas in areas that include the island of Crete’s territorial waters. Ankara says such islands are not entitled to territorial waters.

The deal has infuriated Greece, Cyprus and Egypt, who dismissed it as “illegal.” Cyprus petitioned the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague on Thursday to safeguard its offshore mineral rights. The ICJ has the power to issue binding decisions on countries that recognize its jurisdiction.

President Nicos Anastasiades said the island was committed to protecting its sovereign rights with every legal means possible. “Our recourse to The Hague has that very purpose,” he said.

The maritime border deal was also condemned by Khalifa Haftar, commander of the rival Libyan National Army in the eastern city of Benghazi. Haftar said the government in Tripoli had no authority to sign such an agreement, which was therefore void.