Hassan is a Syrian living in Dahiyeh who runs a retail shop. Ever since the kidnapping of a busload of Lebanese pilgrims in Syria on May 22, Hassan says he is being threatened and intimidated into paying extortion money to men he described as “the thugs of Dahiyeh” in retribution for the pilgrims’ disappearance in his home country. “These thugs would stand in front of our shops, fire in the air, scream and call us dogs, and then force us to close down our stores,” Hassan said. “We have no choice other than to abide. What else can we do?”

Many Syrians living in Hezbollah strongholds in Lebanon say they have been subjected to threats and intimidation following the pilgrims’ abduction, and while many of these incidents go unreported, they have prompted some Syrian workers to leave the area they live in or leave the country altogether. [NowLebanon]