Derbas Says Lebanon Not Concerned with Illegal Syrian Refugee Encampments

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas said on Thursday that the Lebanese state isn't concerned with the Syrian refugee encampments on its territories and rejects their establishment.

“These encampments are illegal and are erected without the approval of the state,” Derbas said in comments published in al-Liwaa newspaper.

He pointed out that the cabinet failed to reach a decision to organize the presence of Syrian refugees on its land after the March 8 alliance strongly rejected to engage in any discussion over the matter.

The minister pointed out that the Syrian encampments are the responsibility of the Interior Ministry and not his.

“I am not ready to do anything regarding the matter without the approval of the government,” Derbas said.

Lebanon is the only country bordering Syria to practice an open border policy, but highlights the economic burden of the Syrian refugee presence.

Refugees now account for a quarter of the population of Lebanon and cost Beirut $4.5 billion (3.3 billion euros) a year, according to Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh.

Media reports said recently that humanitarian associations are seeking to establish 5,000 new tents on two stages for Syrian refugees in the northern district of Akkar.

In May, the International Monetary Fund estimated that because of the conflict in neighboring Syria, unemployment in Lebanon had nearly doubled.

It said the number of people without jobs had hit about 20 percent, and noted that growth of 2 percent was well below pre-Syria crisis levels.



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