Many of those who were detained during the Lebanese civil war were arrested or abducted by Syrian forces in Lebanon, or handed over to Syrian forces by militia groups allied to them. After the war ended, Lebanese nationals continued to be abducted by Syrian forces or passed to Syria by Lebanon's military intelligence, especially after the Treaty of Fraternity, Coordination and Cooperation was signed in 1991.
One of the most awful incidents of human rights abuses in which the Syrian army bears direct responsibility took place in al-Qalaa monastery, in the town of Beit Meri in the Matn area, on the morning of October 13, 1990.
The Syrian army swept into the al-Qalaa monastery area and arrested two priests: father Sleiman Abu Khalil and father Albert Shirfan, together with dozens of Lebanese army soldiers. At the same time, some of the Lebanese soldiers including Lt. Tanious Zougheib who were in the vicinity of the monastery surrendered themselves to the Syrian troops.
Around noon of the same day, the Syrian forces placed 30 Lebanese soldiers in a pit and executed them in cold blood using machine guns and hand grenades.
The next day, the Syrian forces transferred the detainees in trucks and jeeps through the road of Monte-Verde Ras al-Matn to an unknown destination. Taking the route of the convoy into consideration, it is most probable that they were transferred to the Bekaa valley. Survivors from this incident and many eye-witnesses from the Beit Meri and Ras al-Matn area identified the presence of the two priests (fathers Abu Khalil and Shirfan were in a Range Rover) in the convoy.
The information about what happened in al-Qalaa monastery was well documented in media and human rights organizations reports. The facts are also known to the Lebanese authorities, but, they never opened an investigation into what took place on that day and never published any report about the names of those who were executed or the fate of those who factually disappeared.
The bodies of those who were killed are still there. And no one is allowed to check the site because the Syrian forces are still positioned there. Most of all, this crime against humanity is still unaccounted for.