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Aid groups urge Lebanon army to halt punitive refugee raids

August 9, 2019
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FILE - In this Sunday, June 16, 2019 file photo, Syrian refugees demolish a concrete wall built inside their tent at a refugee camp in the eastern Lebanese border town of Arsal, Lebanon. On Friday, Aug 9, 2019 dozens of international aid groups are calling on Lebanese armed forces to put an end to a campaign of dismantling homes of Syrian refugees, calling it "punitive" and "traumatic." (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein, File)
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FILE - In this Sunday, June 16, 2019 file photo, Syrian refugees demolish a concrete wall built inside their tent at a refugee camp in the eastern Lebanese border town of Arsal, Lebanon. On Friday, Aug 9, 2019 dozens of international aid groups are calling on Lebanese armed forces to put an end to a campaign of dismantling homes of Syrian refugees, calling it "punitive" and "traumatic." (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein, File)

BEIRUT (AP) — Dozens of international aid groups are calling on Lebanese armed forces to put an end to a campaign of dismantling homes of Syrian refugees, calling it “punitive” and “traumatic.”

The statement by 51 groups Friday comes following reports that Lebanese armed forces personnel raided a community of 350 Syrian refugee homes in settlements in the northern town of Akkar around dawn a day earlier.

The groups said military personnel used sledgehammers to partially demolished homes on grounds that they violated a recent military order.

Earlier this year, the military gave refugees until July 1 to remove any concrete walls taller than waist high— a measure designed to keep their homes temporary.

Lebanon is home to over 1 million Syrian refugees, a strain on the small country’s resources.

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