Report: Free Syrian Army Vows to Put Bassil on Trial for Recent Statements against Syrian Refugees
(Translation of this article appears in Arabic section)
Syrian opposition activists and bloggers slammed Energy Minister Jebran Bassil's recent statements on Syrian refugees in Lebanon, reported the pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat on Sunday.
Sources from the Free Syrian Army told the daily: “Bassil, along with his masters in Tehran, Damascus, and Beirut, he will be put on trial for all that they have done against the Lebanese and Syrian people over the past 40 years.”
They accused him and his allies of “stirring spite, strife, racism, and sectarianism in Syria.”
Reports had recently said that the minister had proposed closing the Lebanese border with Syria because of the country's inability to support the burden of refugees fleeing the violence in their country.
Bassil held a press conference on Saturday however to deny the claims, proposing instead that the government should put an admission ceiling for refugees crossing to Lebanon.
“We never said we wanted to expel them,” he stressed.
“Racism is between red and yellow, white and black but not between two peoples from the same color and confessions,” Bassil stressed.
“How could we be sectarian when the Syrian refugees are Christians and Muslims? How could we be racist when we have common traits with the Syrian people?” he wondered.
Bassil also snapped back at his critics, saying his proposal to put an admission ceiling aimed at meeting the needs of the refugees, was in no way linked to the upcoming parliamentary elections.