Lebanese gov't cracking down on Syrian refugees
A young Syrian boy plays with a tyre at the Arsal refugee camp on June 14, 2013 in Lebanon (AFP/File)
The Lebanese government began implementing strict entry controls on Syrians fleeing the turmoil in the neighboring country in an attempt to confront the soaring numbers of refugees.
According to An Nahar newspaper published on Wednesday, the security measures are implemented on all border crossings with Syrian including al-Masnaa border crossing in the east, al-Abboudiyeh in Akkar district, al-Aridah in North Lebanon and several others.
The measures aim at preventing “terrorist” and anti-Lebanese army groups from entering the country.
“Only people with valid identification cards or passports can enter and they are filling applications that identify them whether they are refugees or workers,” the report said.
Caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel previously said that the measures aim at organizing the refugees legal permits.
The residency permits will have a timeframe of six months, Charbel noted.
Ministerial sources told An Nahar that the entry controls don't target the Syrians but rather aim at safeguarding the Lebanese.
Concerning the government's decision to shut down unlicensed businesses owned by Syrians across Lebanon, the deadline for them acquire the legal permits was extended to August 31.
The Lebanese state argues that the Syrians the right to work to feed themselves on building sites or other sectors but not in trade or in businesses that require a permit.
But the presence of 600,000 alongside a population of just four million has sparked mounting friction.
A recent opinion poll found that 54 percent of respondents believed Lebanon should close its doors to the refugees. A full 82 percent said that the refugees were stealing jobs from Lebanese.
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