Hundreds of Syrians homeless: refugee camp burned down in Lebanon

A camp for Syrian refugees in Lebanon was set on fire after a dispute between camp residents and a local family. Several residents were injured in the fire.

A makeshift refugee camp for around 375 Syrians in northern Lebanon has burned down completely. Four people were injured and all tents in the camp in the village of Al-Minije were destroyed, said a spokesman for the UN refugee agency UNHCR in Lebanon.

The dispute began with a “personal argument” between a group of young Lebanese and Syrian workers, said the Lebanese army. The Lebanese fired shots in the air and then set fire to the camp, which is near the Syrian border. Two Lebanese and six Syrians were arrested in connection with the incident.

Residents are looking for other accommodations

The UNHCR spokesman said several residents had returned to look for useful items among the charred tents. Most of them found shelter in other unofficial refugee camps. But residents also offered them help, said Kabbara.

The Sunni Grand Mufti of Lebanon, Sheikh Abdul Latif Derian, spoke of a “heinous crime” and called on the authorities to bring those responsible to justice. “The Syrian refugees in Lebanon are guests. We have to support them until they can return to their home country,” he said, according to the state agency NNA.

Tense situation in Lebanon

In Lebanon there are always tensions between residents and Syrians who have fled en masse from the civil war country. More than a million Syrians have sought refuge in Lebanon, almost a quarter of the population that Lebanon had before the civil war in Syria. The already poor infrastructure in the country is additionally burdened by the many Syrians.

There are also historical differences between the two neighboring countries. For three decades, Syria dominated smaller Lebanon and had thousands of soldiers stationed there. They withdrew in 2005 after the assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, which sparked anti-Syrian protests.

Deutschlandfunk reported on this topic in the news on December 27, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.

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