Lebanon says unable to host Syrian refugees

Lebanon says unable to host Syrian refugees

About 1.5 million Syrians took refuge in Lebanon since 2011

By Naim Berjawi

BEIRUT (AA) – Lebanon said Saturday that it is no longer capable of bearing the burden of hosting Syrian refugees in the country.

Lebanon “is committed to the principle of non-refoulement of the displaced (Syrian refugees), but the situation is no longer tolerable," Minister of Social Affairs Hector Hajjar said during a meeting with Ayaki Ito, the representative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Lebanon.

“The Lebanese state is no longer able to bear the cost of maintaining security in the camps for the displaced and the areas where they are deployed, nor can it bear the burden of this file for the benefit of other countries," he added, without mentioning these countries.

The Lebanese minister said Beirut has received from the UN less aid compared to the needs it submits to the international organization annually “despite the fact that 35% of the total population (in Lebanon) are displaced persons and refugees” at a time when “82% of the Lebanese suffer from multidimensional poverty."

About 1.5 million Syrians are estimated to have fled their country and took refuge in Lebanon since 2011, when civil war broke out in Syria.

According to the UN-affiliated researches, every nine out of 10 Syrians in Lebanon suffer from extreme poverty.

This has increased irregular migration attempts from Lebanon to European countries in search of better living conditions as the Arab country continues to grapple with a severe economic crisis, including a massive currency depreciation as well as fuel and medical shortages that has plagued it since late 2019.

*Writing by Ibrahim Mukhtar in Ankara

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