The Maronite Patriarch of Lebanon, Bechara Al-Rahi, called for the forcible return of Syrian refugees to Syria, because it is not possible for a voluntary return to happen.
In an interview with Vatican Radio, Al-Rahi said, on the sidelines of his participation in a church conference in the Hungarian capital, Budapest, that the Syrian refugees should return to Syria because the war ended there, and they do not want to admit that, and insist on staying in Lebanon.
He added, “He is not hostile to Syrian refugees, but Lebanon cannot bear such a burden,” noting that the Lebanese are leaving their country, and refugees are taking their place.
He considered that the Syrians live better than the Lebanese themselves, as they have jobs and businesses, in addition to receiving assistance from international organizations every month, calling for this assistance to be provided to them inside Syria.
Al-Ra’i recalled that his intervention resulted in changing the opinion of the Pope himself regarding the Syrian refugees in Lebanon, as he was calling on the Pope to integrate the refugees wherever they are, while in the Lebanese case this call was against the interests of Lebanon.
Al-Rahi indicated that he wrote in the letter, which resulted in changing the opinion of the Pope, that Lebanon is a country whose political system is based on demographics, and that the two million Syrian refugees are Sunni Muslims, which may lead to the exploitation of this matter politically as a paper was used. Palestinian refugees in 1975, which led to a civil war between Christians and Muslims, as he claimed.