Lebanon’s refugee fatigue

Attempts to stem flow of Syrians are counterproductive, says Haid Haid

The World Today Published 9 February 2017 Updated 24 November 2020 2 minute READ

The devastation in war-torn Syria has been felt beyond its borders. Some 4.7 million Syrians have fled the country, most seeking refuge in neighbouring states.

Lebanon has been one of the worst affected, with the mass flow of refugees putting enormous strain on a country already struggling economically and with a fragile security situation.

As of October 2016, authorities estimated that Lebanon was playing host to 1.5 million Syrians.

To reduce the flow, strict visa requirements were introduced at the beginning of 2015 which are now beginning to prove counterproductive and even dangerous.

Before this, Syrian access to Lebanon had been largely unrestricted. Bilateral agreements with Syria allowed freedom of work, residence and economic activity for nationals of both countries, with an entry stamp in a passport granting residency for six months, which could be renewed free of charge.

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