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Syrian refugees at crossroads as Lebanon limits influx

English.news.cn   2014-06-15 01:18:20

by Salah Takieddine

BEIRUT, June 14 (Xinhua) -- Many Syrian refugees living in north Lebanon's cities and towns plan to leave for Syria and Turkey, due to the latest measures taken by Lebanon to limit the influx of refugees to Lebanon and the cessation of the clashes in Homs.

Some 275,981 Syrian refugees registered with the United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees out of more than one million refugees live in north Lebanon's cities and towns, but most of them live in randomly erected camps on the outskirts of the region 's villages.

Those refugees are spread between the northern port city of Tripoli and the various border villages of the Akkar region where they erected on their own camps that the Lebanese government does not recognize its presence.

According to sources close to the Syrian refugees issue in Lebanon, due to the lack of aid provided to the displaced, many of the young men living in the random camps preferred to leave their tents heading to the capital city of Beirut or to Turkey in search for jobs opportunities.

Ahmad Srour, a 45 years old man from Homs, said "we were previously receiving aid from many NGOs. We had a free health care, and my children were enrolled in schools where an Arab charity was taking care of their education. But today the situation is completely different."

He said "my elder son is 13 years old and has been subject to severe beating from his fellow Lebanese students. He had to stop attending school, which is the case of many other Syrian students. "

Srour said that the aid has been limited and there is a lack in the job opportunities "so we are now dependable on the aid provided by the International Organizations as the Arab and local aid has stopped."

He added that his brother left north Lebanon to Turkey and he himself will also leave to Turkey when the opportunity arises. "My house in Homs has been destroyed completely and there is no hope currently to return there although I wish to return and live in my homeland," he said.

Unofficial reports claimed that Syrian displaced in northern Lebanon started an unannounced immigration to Turkey through the port of Tripoli, adding that the displaced are planning to immigrate from turkey to the countries of the European Union via groups who facilitate the illegal immigration to Europe.

Khaled, 25 years old displaced, said "I live in northern Lebanon with my parents and five brothers and sisters since two years ago."

He did not possess legal identification papers and was arrested for three months last year in Lebanon because of this situation.

He said that he cannot go outside the camp for fear of the security forces that would arrest me again so he can't work and help his family," and the aid agencies "are trading with our situation and treating us badly, they do not provide us with what is necessary for us to survive."

He stressed "I dream of going back to Syria. My father decided to do so last month but we found out that our house was completely destroyed, but we will return when the reconstruction process begins."

For her part, 55-year-old Khaldiya who displaced from Homs neighborhoods told Xinhua that she is living with her four children in a tent in the camp since more than two years.

She added "my husband died five years ago and I have no one to support me except my son who works in a construction site for 10 U. S. dollars a day."

She added that her eldest daughter got married last year and has returned with her husband to Syria after the cessation of clashes in their village. "I am waiting for the day when I return with the rest of my family as life here is difficult and particularly after the aid stopped," she said.

A Lebanese official told Xinhua that the Lebanese government is not "responsible" for those "illegal randomly erected camps," referring to the presence of camps "occupied by Syrian workers who were in Lebanon before the Syrian crisis.

The Lebanese Ministry of Interior started at the beginning of June applying strict measures to limit the influx of Syrian displaced to Lebanon and depriving the Syrian refugee from his status if he enters Syria.

According to the social affairs ministry, there are around 1, 200 randomly erected camps for Syrian refugees in Lebanon that lack the minimum requirements for safety and health care.

Editor: yan
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