File - Hanna Gharib, head of the UCC, speaks during a protest outside the Social Affairs Ministry in Beirut, Monday, May 12, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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A wave of policy changes since June signals a shift in the government's approach toward Syrian refugees, with security concerns taking even greater precedence since this month's clashes in Arsal, according to the official managing the file.A few weeks later, Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas said only individuals coming from Syrian areas bordering Lebanon would be permitted to enter the country.Makram Malaeb, head of the Refugee Unit at the Social Affairs Ministry, told The Daily Star that the changes had yet to be implemented, largely because of operational and coordination challenges.Malaeb said at least 20-25 percent of Syrian refugees in Lebanon tended to move around from one municipality to another.Touching on the broader issue of establishing formal camps in Lebanon, Malaeb reiterated the ministry's long-standing policy of establishing them in areas removed from Lebanese communities.Instead, the ministry is looking into the possibility of establishing – pending Cabinet approval – 10 to 15 formal camps to shelter 20,000 individuals each.
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