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Lebanon bans all political activity by Syrians

Lebanese soldiers patrol a street in Baalbek's al-Sharawna neighbourhood as part of the reinforcement of security measures in the Bekaa Valley, near the border with Syria, on April 12, 2014Lebanon on Thursday banned all political gatherings by Syrians on its territory, citing a wish to preserve security two weeks ahead of a controversial Syrian presidential election. Damascus has called on all Syrian refugees — except those who fled illegally — to cast their votes at embassies for the election, which is widely expected to return President Bashar al-Assad to office, despite the raging conflict. “The interior ministry calls on Syrian refugees not to organise any gatherings or public meetings of a political character that may affect the security and stability of Lebanon, and relations with Lebanese citizens,” a statement said. “This request is rooted in Lebanon’s policy of neutrality on the Syrian conflict and in the good relations between the Lebanese and Syrian refugees,” it added.

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