UN calls for support for Lebanon to manage Syrian refugees
On Tuesday, the UN chief visited the Lebanese Prime Minister designate, Tammam Salam, and discussed the condition of the Syrian refugees in the country.
“I discussed with Salam the current juncture in Lebanon, which is hosting nearly tens of thousands of Syrians added to those already living here,” Amos said after her visit.
“We tackled means to help the Lebanese families receiving the displaced and we underlined the necessity of economic stability in the country,” she added.
The UN official stated that the government and people of Lebanon have opened their borders and doors to their Syrian neighbors in time of need.
She made reference to the burden on Lebanon and said, “The crisis is taking a toll on the economy and on the provision of basic services, such as health and education, in the country.”
She also called for support for Lebanon, saying, “We need to do all we can to support the Lebanese government […] if you have thousands of refugees crossing the border every day, it’s a huge burden not just on the country but also on the people who are hosting the refugees.”
The latest figures from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) indicate that over half a million Syrians have sheltered in Lebanon after fleeing unrest in their country.
Lebanese government officials, aid workers and experts believe the refugee figure is higher by an additional several hundred thousand people, and it does not include the tens of thousands of displaced Syrians in Lebanon who are well-off or otherwise supporting themselves, and not relying on humanitarian assistance.
Syria has been gripped by a deadly unrest since March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of government forces, have been killed in the violence.
Damascus says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.
The Syrian government says the West and its regional allies including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey are supporting the militants.
Several international human rights organizations have accused militants operating in Syria of committing war crimes.
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