Lebanon to draft new plan for admitting Syrian refugees
The Central Security Council Tuesday asked General Security to design a new mechanism to govern the entry of Syrian and Palestinian refugees from Syria into Lebanon, days after authorities deported a group of refugees for trying to illegally flee the country.
“The council asked General Security to design a mechanism to [better] organize the entry of Palestinian and Syrian refugees from Syria into Lebanon based on clear standards,” the council said in a statement after the end of a meeting chaired by Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk.
The plan will be submitted to Cabinet for discussion and approval, the council added.
The security meeting was attended by the country’s top security and judiciary officials including acting State Prosecutor Samir Hammoud, Police Chief Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Basbous, Head of Army Intelligence Maj. Gen. Edmond Fadel, and Military Prosecutor Saqr Saqr.
The council also discussed measures taken recently against 49 Syrian and Palestinian refugees for attempting to illegally travel to another country via the Beirut airport. Authorities deported the refugees for possessing forged travel documents.
Earlier on Tuesday, Human Rights Watch criticized Lebanese authorities over the deportation, and called on the government to rescind its decision to bar Palestinians from Syria from entering Lebanon and refrain from returning refugees.
The Central Security Council also discussed the entry of Syrian and Palestinian refugees from Syria into Lebanon via land and sea borders.
“No decision has been taken to prevent the entry of the refugees and the borders remain open,” the council said.
The number of Syrian refugees fleeing into Lebanon has skyrocketed in the past year with more than one million registered refugees. Thousands of Palestinian refugees from Syria have also sought refuge in Lebanon as the war rages over the border.
Lebanon has said that it can no longer handle the overwhelming number of refugees and that it was struggling to provide them with needed aid.
During the meeting, Mahcnouk also asked the council to prepare for a second operation to deliver aid into the Lebanese village of Tfeil in the next 10 days, saying such operations should become a regular occurrence.