Lebanon blocks Syrian refugees from entering: UNHCR
Iran Press TV
Sat Oct 18, 2014 3:45PM GMT
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says Lebanon has sharply cut the influx of Syrian refugees fleeing foreign-sponsored militancy in their homeland by refusing to let them in.
'Our understanding is that people who are coming to claim refugee status are not being permitted to enter in the way that they were previously,' Ninette Kelley, UNHCR's representative in Lebanon, said on Saturday.
'What we've seen over the last two to three weeks is that there are greater restrictions.... We've seen that there are fewer people approaching us for registration which is also indicative of tightening of the border,' she added.
The United Nations' figures show a drop of around 40,000 in the number of Syrian refugees since the end of September.
Kelley said restrictions took effect on Lebanon's northern border in August, and were extended to the main official border crossing, Masnaa, on its eastern frontier in September.
More than 1.1 million Syrian refugees are currently taking shelter in Lebanon. The influx of Syrian refugees is exerting huge pressure on Lebanon's poor infrastructure, education and health systems.
On Saturday, Lebanese Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas said his country 'no longer officially receives any displaced Syrians' except those with urgent humanitarian reasons.
'We informed the UNHCR that we are no longer able to receive displaced people,' he stated.
More than three million Syrians are said to have taken shelter in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq since the onset of the Syrian crisis in March 2011.
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