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Abdulsalam Shalashtein 13 Sep 2014

Five Noteworthy Stories You Might Have Missed This Week (9/13)

The kidnap and murder of Lebanese security forces by militants from Syria in early August has sparked new tensions in Lebanon, including a backlash against Syrian refugees and a string of sectarian kidnappings.

A series of tit-for-tat kidnappings has been taking place following confirmation that a second Lebanese soldier being held by Islamic State (IS) militants has been beheaded. The crisis has prompted an angry and sometimes violent backlash against Syrian refugees in various parts of Lebanon. Here’s what happened this week:

1. Syrian Refugee Tents Set on Fire in Baalbeck

(Image via An-Nahar)

In Baalbeck, An-Nahar reported that Syrian refugee tents were set on fire and shot at in the villages of Hermel and Masharii El-Kaa. One man identified as Mohammad Al-Salem Ahmad was injured by a bullet and taken to Hermel Hospital. The army was dispatched to help return the area to calm.

More than 1.1 million Syrian refugees have fled to Lebanon since the war in Syria began.

2. Syrians Refugees Forced To Leave

(Image via The Daily Star)

Syrian refugees were given 48 hours to evacuate from Tyre’s Burj al-Shemali Municipality earlier this week, according to notices from the police. The reason: concerns over health problems and security. Police handed out letters to the refugees in the village saying they had 48 hours to evacuate or be held accountable.

Meanwhile, a group of anonymous Bourj Hammoud residents put up flyers throughout the neighborhood like the one above which reads: “We ask all Syrian residents of Bourj Hammoud to evacuate the area and that’s to sympathize with the Lebanese Army martyrs. You have been warned.” The paper is signed by the “Men of Bourj Hammoud.” The municipality says they have no idea who these people are, and certain security precautions have been taken to protect all the residents of Bourj Hammoud, regardless of nationality.

3. Beirut River Solar Power Project Underway

(Image via Twitter)

As Gino’s Blog reported earlier this week, construction is underway for the Beirut River Solar Snake Project, a farm of solar panels cover 20,000 square meters of land near the river bed. The panels will be linked to the national power grid run by Electricité du Liban (EDL) and promises to offer 10,000 households electricity.

Initially the farm will supply 1 megawatts of energy, which is enough for about 1,000 houses, with a planned expansion to reach 10 megawatts.

4. Car Bomb Defused in Arsal

(Image via Annahar)

An estimated 75 Kilograms of explosives was defused by the Lebanese army in Arsal. The explosives were found in a white Kia parked near an army checkpoint on the main road leading to the northern Lebanese border town.

Read the whole story here.

5. Lebanon Envoy Withdraws from US Senator’s Dinner

(Image via Daily Star)

Lebanese ambassador to the U Antoine Chedid was among several figures to withdraw from the Middle East’s Christian conference in Washington D.C. after US Senator Ted Cruz remarked that “Christians have no greater ally than Israel.”

Cruz was addressing a crowd of Arab Christian figures at a fundraising dinner for the non-profit organization “In Defense of Christians” in Washington D.C.In addition to Chedid’s protest, media reports said that Future Movement MPs Jean Ogassapian, Atef Majdalani and former MP Ghattas Khoury all withdrew from the conference.