UNRWA Says Lebanon Still Barring Palestinians Fleeing Syria

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The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees said Lebanon was still denying entry to Palestinians fleeing the war in neighboring Syria Wednesday, despite its insistence there was "no decision" to keep them out.

"UNRWA has been monitoring the situation at the crossing point at Masnaa between Lebanon and Syria and can report that no Palestine refugees from Syria have been allowed into Lebanon today and that some families trying to cross have been refused entry," said UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness.

"We have been given assurances by the Lebanese authorities that these restrictions are temporary. We hope that they will be lifted within the next few days," he said.

On Tuesday, Lebanon's Central Security Council, comprised of the interior minister and the chiefs of security agencies, agreed "there is absolutely no decision to bar them from entry, and the border is open to them."

It asked the General Directorate of General Security to “suggest a mechanism that would regulate the entry of Syrians and Syria-based Palestinian refugees into Lebanon according to clear standards.”

The statement came after the U.N. and Human Rights Watch expressed concern over "increased restrictions" on fleeing Palestinians entering Lebanon.

Lebanon has not signed the international refugee convention, but has generally kept its border open to people fleeing the conflict in Syria despite the scale of the influx.

Lebanon hosts more refugees from Syria than any other country, with 52,000 Palestinians among a total of more than a million. It now has the highest refugee population per capita in the world.

On Wednesday, Gunness reiterated a U.N. Security Council call to the international community "to support countries neighboring Syria in assisting refugees and affected communities."

Human rights activists say Palestinians in Syria, who once numbered 500,000, have been targeted by both sides in the conflict, making them one of the country's more vulnerable groups.

Syria's most populous Palestinian district, Yarmuk in south Damascus, has been under blockade by the army since last year and trapped civilians have received only very limited supplies of food and medicines organized by UNRWA and other agencies.

Turkey and Jordan, which also host large numbers of refugees from Syria, have barred entry to Palestinians.

Comments 6
Thumb cedre 08 May 2014, 01:51

nice arguments ft, as usual...

Missing _karim 08 May 2014, 09:13

Why cant they go to Saudi Arabia, which is responsible for their plight in the first place?

Thumb kanaandian 08 May 2014, 10:05

agreed, saudi arabia is the true palestine.

Default-user-icon Hanoun (Guest) 08 May 2014, 10:08

ur right terrorist they should go back to the country that caused them to flee their country in the first place ie your ally Israel

Thumb stainlessteal 08 May 2014, 11:11

Old rent law
What about the issue of rooting out 100,000 family without real alternative provided. I don't see the 8 or 14 enthusiasts asking there masters to look into that matters. Maybe the masters are in bed while the slaves are quarreling over "truth".

Thumb -phoenix1 08 May 2014, 11:49

The refugee problem in its whole should be tackled with the host countries' main concerns. In our case we're talking of Lebanon, the smallest Arab country and the one that is the most burdened with this terrible situation. Sure we all know how corrupt our politicians are and how they keep taking bribes to let more refugees in, but now the truth is that we are super saturated with refugees, to the point where no matter what we or the international community do, we will always fall far short of meet the basic requirements of refugees. One cannot remain but disgusted by the sheer level of hypocrisy of the international community, the UN included and the Arab countries in front line. As opposed to Lebanon's very limited resources and land space, those that keep championing the causes of refugees know all too well of the blatant double standards being played out on this issue. Let those with bigger shoulders now come to terms with their responsibilities instead of that tired old song,