Lebanon is considering relocating thousands of Syrian refugees in Arsal away from the volatile northeastern border area, As-Safir newspaper said Monday.
The report, citing "well-informed" sources, said there are discussions of transferring the refugees from camps in and around Arsal to sites elsewhere in the Bekaa Valley that are at least 10-15 kilometers away from the Syrian border.
The sources said that the move would be accompanied by stringent measures to prevent turning Syrian refugee camps into hotbeds for terrorism.
Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas also renewed calls for the establishment of “central camps” away from the border area to accommodate Syrian refugees.
“Central camps would contain the risk of the current random distribution of refugees ... inside the camps,” Derbas told As-Safir, pointing to the presence of 1,500 randomly placed refugee camps across Lebanon.
He reassured that central camps would not lead to naturalizing Syrians in Lebanon.
“I am confident that as soon as peace returns to Syria, the refugees will return sooner than some people think,” Derbas said.
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