Naharnet

U.N.: 170,637 Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

The number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon has reached 170,637, among them 126,724 registered refugees and 43,913 scheduled to be registered, according to the weekly report The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The report said more than 24,000 refugees were registered in December at the registration offices in Tripoli, Beirut, the Bekaa and South Lebanon.

According to the report, 64,798 refugees are residing in northern Lebanon, 49,692 in the Bekaa, and 12,234 in Beirut and Mount Lebanon.

MP Oqab Saqr on Sunday lashed out at Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun and Energy Minister Jebran Bassil over their latest calls for closing the Lebanese-Syrian border to stop the influx of Syrian and Palestinian refugees into Lebanon.

Slamming Bassil without naming him, the lawmaker added: “One of Aoun's ministers has gone too far and likened them (Syrian refugees) to imported evil ideas and called for expelling them together with the Palestinian refugees – a step that amounts to an extraordinary challenge to the extinct hawks of South Africa's apartheid.”

Aoun has warned that “the number of Palestinians in Lebanon is nearing one million.”

Commenting on the arrival of refugees from Syria through the border, Aoun said this is a “real danger from which our attention should not be deviated.”

“Nations supporting the revolutionaries in Syria with money and arms are obliging Palestinians to flee the war-torn country,” the FPM leader added, wondering why these regimes do not “take responsibility of the refugees instead of blaming us and putting the entire burden on Lebanon".

On November 20, Aoun cautioned that “the accumulation of refugees on the Lebanese border confirms that they are not all refugees and this poses a threat, especially if they are fighters taking part in the war in Syria.” 

“Everyone knows that the issue of asylum starts with individuals asking you for help and ends with them mutineering against you,” he added.

The FPM leader cautioned that “this issue has become very dangerous because they are spread across all areas,” calling on the government to “publish the numbers and oversee residency across Lebanon.”


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