Some residents of the northeastern town of Lebanon's Arsal threatened Syrian refugees Sunday with their lives if they fail to close down their business in 48 hours and to enforce the ban on their vehicles.
A source at the Arsal Municipality downplayed the warning, saying the group behind the announcement "was not an organized party but most probably a few residents in the town".
A statement released by a group calling itself "Arsal’s youth" said: "We are fed up and we have become unemployed ... we grant Syrian refugees 48 hours to close down their businesses without exception and to stop Syrian vehicles or motorcycles from traveling on the road under any circumstances.
It stressed that "anyone who violates this statement will be a legitimate target for ‘Arsal's youth".
The Municipality of Arsal has banned vehicles with Syrian license plates to be driven in the town for security reasons after several media outlets reported that explosive-rigged vehicles were entering Lebanon via the border town.
The Arsal Municipality denied knowledge of "Arsal Youth’s" statement, saying it did not take part in drafting the announcement.
The border town has recently received a large influx of Syrian refugees as a result of ongoing battles in Qalamoun, a mountainous area lying roughly north of Damascus and adjacent to Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley.
An estimated 40,000 refugees have settled in Arsal, double the Lebanese population.
Residents of Arsal have on several occasions voiced their frustration with regards to growing unemployment rates due to the rise of competing Syrian businesses. They have also complained that the town has become overpopulated amid a sharp decrease in resources, particularly electricity and water.
Officials have sounded the alarm over the lack of available space to house thousands of refugees from Syria.