ICC Note: Lebanon’s Christian community is fearful that the fighting that has been raging around them for over three years and since June has sent hundreds of thousands fleeing from their homes in Iraq, will soon be coming to them. Lebanon has become the host for well over 1 million Syrian refugees, many of them Sunni Muslim. There is fear that the demographic changes will become the seed that militant extremists use for more serious threats against the Christian community.
09/15/2014 Lebanon (Daily Star) – Elie’s mother sits on her terrace every morning in the predominantly Christian town of Dababiya in northern Akkar, a few kilometers from the Syrian border, and invites her neighbors for a coffee and a chat about the latest gossip. Her only son Elie sits with her for a while before leaving for work, and their candid conversation reveals her son’s deep foreboding. He doesn’t answer her question about how his trade business in Halba is going these days.
“There is something more important that work,” he repeats several times, “our unknown fate.”
Elie is one among many Maronite and Greek Orthodox residents dwelling in the Nahr al-Kabir al-Janoubi area, a mere 50 meters from the Syrian frontier. These residents in particular are vigilantly keeping an eye on the advances of ISIS, fearful that the militant group might one day infiltrate their border town. Some, doubtful that the Lebanese Army would be able to protect them, have taken measures to arm themselves.
Their fears run deep, despite the implausibility of an ISIS offensive in the north, given the dynamics on the ground in Syria.