Lebanon bans Syrian refugees from entering the country
At least 1.13 million Syrian refugees are registered with the UN in Lebanon (File/AFP)
Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas announced Monday that Lebanon would accept no more Syrian refugees but said the borders would remain open to people traveling for other purposes.
“Any Syrian national is welcome, but not as a refugee,” Derbas said as he left a meeting held at the Grand Serail with the ministerial committee responsible for Syrian refugees.
The meeting was headed by Prime Minister Tammam Salam.
The borders will remain open in emergency cases, but refugee flow will be halted, Derbas said.
“Stopping the refugees is final, because Lebanon is no longer able to host any more,” he said, adding that there were many border areas on the Syrian side that were free of clashes and could host refugees.
As for the potential refugees coming from areas far from the borders, Derbas said it was “unfair” for Lebanon to host them, explaining that they could be relocated inside Syria.
The new decision, which Derbas said would be adopted as an official policy soon, came after months of debate in Lebanon over how to handle refugees.
At least 1.13 million Syrian refugees have registered with the UN in Lebanon, but officials say the actual number is much higher.
As for the existing refugees, Derbas said their cases would be regularly examined to make sure those who do not meet the criteria for refugee status were removed from the UN list.
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