Syrian 14-year-old dies after police chase him in Beirut, activists furious

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Ahmed al-Zouabi, a Syrian refugee child in Lebanon who worked as a shoe-shiner, died after being chased by the Lebanese police earlier this week.

The child was running away from the police who were chasing him following an alleged “theft case” that was reported.

Human rights activists took to social media their anger about the recklessness Syrian refugees are treated with in Lebanon.

Sara is a Syrian activist who told the tragic story of Ahmed in a tweet, saying: “Did you hear about the Syrian child Ahmed al-Zouabi who died in Beirut? He was working as a shoe-shiner in Tallet al-Khayyat in Beirut. A police patrol came and chased after him because Syrians aren’t allowed to work in Lebanon. He ran away into a building and fell from the sixth floor. Ahmed was 14 when he died."

She later replied to people’s interaction with her tweet saying: “We cannot do anything. He died, just like that, and nothing will bring him back. What we can do is talk about him to prevent his case from being ignored like nothing has happened.”

Beirut’s municipality issued a statement explaining that police chased him for a theft case but lost him in the chase.

Syrians’ lives in Lebanon

According to the UN, the small country is estimated to have more than a million Syrian refugees who fled the war.

Lebanon is the only country that kept its doors open throughout the Syrian crisis for people fleeing, but with the huge influx of refugees, racial tensions have been on the rise, and they have often been subject of social media debates.

An example would be when famous Lebanese singer, Youri Mrakkadi, once published a video saying that someone from a Lebanese municipality said: “Hijabis, dogs, and Syrians are not allowed to enter the beach.”

Another incident was when a report published by the website of local Lebanese television station MTV titled “Cancer sweeps Lebanon: Two reasons contribute to its spread” alleged that Syrian refugees in Lebanon are one of the reasons behind the spread of cancer in the country.