Lebanon warns police to stop Syria refugee abuse

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Lebanese Interior Minister Nuhad Mashnuq on Thursday warned law enforcement agents against abusing Syrian refugees after pictures showing some being mistreated by municipal police were posted online.

Mashnuq said in a letter to heads of municipalities that officers would face "disciplinary measures" if they abuse their power when dealing with citizens and Syrian refugees.

"Lately, there has been a rise in the abuses committed by members of the police in several municipalities concerning Syrian refugees," Mashnuq wrote.

He ordered the heads of municipalities to give "strict instructions" to police officers "to respect rules and regulations".

Human rights activists have said that policemen in the Amchit municipality carried out nighttime raids in several homes, detaining Syrian refugees.

The activists posted pictures online showing refugees kneeling or lined up facing a wall, their hands crossed behind their backs, as municipal policemen checked their identity documents.

The images have sparked outrage and prompted the authorities to arrest five municipal policement from Amchit, who were later released after being interrogated.

Lebanon hosts more than one million Syrian refugees, roughly a quarter of the Mediterranean country's population.

Their presence has been a burden on Lebanon's economy and a source of tension, with rights groups saying the refugees face many restriction s.

At the end of June, troops raided a makeshift refugee camp near a predominantly Christian village on the border with Syria after suicide attacks.

More than 280,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since Syria's civil war erupted with the brutal repression of anti-government protests in 2011.

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