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U.N. chief allays Lebanon’s fears over refugee settlement

The permanent settlement of Syrian refugees is a choice left up to the host country, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a letter to Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, apparently seeking to allay Lebanon’s fears over refugee settlement. The letter was delivered Friday by the U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Sigrid Kaag who visited Bassil at the Foreign Ministry. “The United Nations will continue to firmly work to reach a settlement of the conflict [in Syria] and reduce the burdens placed on some countries, including Lebanon,” Ban said in the letter. Ban said he supported Bassil’s position to help Syrians return…

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Study shows Syrian influx poses enormous environmental risks

Lebanon last year witnessed a random increase in makeshift camps for Syrian refugees which significantly impacts agriculture and increases the risk of water contamination, the ministry of environment reported Monday. The 2015 study on the impact of Syrian migrants on Lebanon's environment to assess the priorities for intervention warned that the "number of unofficial camps and their geographical distribution soared up from 1,069 in April 2014 to 5,082 in December 2015," a nearly 80 percent increase. The study expected further heights in 2016, sounding the alarm that the number of refugees in those unofficial makeshift camps increased from 160,894 in…

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Two arrested in Bekaa for scamming Syrian refugees

General Security arrested two men accused of scamming Syrian refugees through a fake travel agency that led the Syrians to believe they could help travel to Europe, a statement said Tuesday. The statement said the two men, identified by the initials A.B. and T.G., were arrested Monday in the eastern Bekaa Valley. Forged travel documents they used to con people were also confiscated. The statement added that the two suspects confessed to getting in contact with people from several Arab nationalities through female sponsors, who would promise them a passage to Europe in exchange for money. The fake company, known…

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Study to resume on Syrian refugee impact on Lebanon's environment

The Environment Ministry announced Wednesday its decision to resume a study concerning the impact of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, launched in 2014. A ministry statement said that Environment Minister Mohammad Machnouk had met with Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas and U.N. Special Coordinator Philippe Lazzarini to discuss the re-launch of the study. “We have now prepared a study that will be announced next week assessing the environmental impact of the Syrian exodus,” Machnouk said. Machnouk praised the Lebanese community for its generosity to the Syrian people, but added that the country “cannot give what it does not have for itself.”…

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Lebanon can no longer handle refugee crisis

Fragile host communities like Lebanon’s can no longer cope with the lengthy Syrian crisis, Social Affairs Minister Rachid Derbas said Tuesday, warning of the impact left by the Syrian refugees on the country’s demography. “Small communities with little resources like the Lebanese society can’t tolerate the idea of long years of the Syrian crisis ... because it can only stand its consequences for few months at its best,” Derbas said. He was speaking during a meeting for the steering committee at The Lebanon Host Communities Support Project, which is being implemented in collaboration between the ministry and UNDP.” Speaking at…

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Moqbel calls on EU for Syrian refugees aid

Lebanon’s defense minister urged the European Union to speed up assistance for the huge number of refugees from war-ravaged Syria that his country is now harboring. Samir Moqbel said he had appealed to Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades to convey the message to other European Union member states to speed up assistance because “we need the help now and not in one year.” Moqbel said after talks with his Cypriot counterpart Monday that Lebanon could not provide for the refugees’ basic needs like medical care, education, electricity and food without help. Lebanon is home to more than 1 million refugees fleeing…

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Dar al-Fatwa distributes aid to Syrian refugees

The Relief Commission and Humanitarian Aid Association at Dar al-Fatwa distributed assistance to Syrian refugees in the border region of Wadi Khaled Sunday. Clothes and blankets provided by the United Arab Emirates Embassy in Lebanon through its humanitarian and developmental affairs attaché were handed out. Mohammad Meshref, the Relief Commission’s Akkar office director, said, “2,700 Syrian families are benefiting from the distribution today.” These were distributed in several towns including Wadi Khaled, Hnaider, Majdal, Kneisi and Awada. “The campaign will continue until other Akkar towns where Syrian refugees live are covered,” he said. Over the weekend the country was battered…

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«أزمة سوريا لن تنتهي سريعاً والمطلوب دعم طويل الأمد» سلام: لبنان غير قادر على تمويل احتياجات النازح

  أكد رئيس مجلس الوزراء تمام سلام، أن «المأساة التي أصابت السوريين لم تقتصر آثارها عليهم وحدهم، بل تعدتهم لتطال شعوبا وبلداناً أخرى»، مشدّداً على أن «وقتاً طويلاً مضى قبل أن يعي العالم أن أزمة سوريا لن تنتهي سريعاً وأن يعترف بأن المطلوب هو دعم طويل الأمد»، موضحاً «أن لبنان غير قادر وحده على تمويل هذا العبء الهائل الذي يشكله النازحون». وقال سلام في كلمته التي ألقاها اليوم في مؤتمر المانحين في لندن إن «الفقر والبؤس اللذين حملهما مليون ونصف مليون نازح سوري الى لبنان، فاقما الفقر والبؤس الموجودين أساساً في بلدنا، وساهما في توليد آفات ناجمة عن الاكتظاظ الهائل…

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EU Ambassador Says Refugees Won’t Return Soon even if there were Peace

The head of the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon, Ambassador Christina Lassen, has said that Syrian refugees will not return to their country quickly even if there were peace. “What we eventually want is a solution to the crisis. They have to return home,” Lassen told As Safir daily published on Friday. “But even if there were peace (in Syria) tomorrow, they won’t be going immediately,” she said. “The international community had to make sure that they are living in good conditions and are not left in bad conditions,” the diplomat added. An international donor conference in London…

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