BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Illegal refugees given a grace period to return home

Lebanese citizens in the back of a pickup truck flee Arsal, a predominantly Sunni Muslim town near the Syrian border in eastern Lebanon, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. (AP/Bilal Hussein)

BEIRUT: Syrian refugees who have been residing in the country illegally are being given a grace period up until the end of this year to return home without having to pay any fines, General Security said Saturday.

In line with the recent Cabinet decision to exempt Syrian refugees from the penalty for violating Lebanon's residency laws, the security agency said the refugees could return home via legal border crossings starting Aug. 21.

According to a statement, the decision to allow refugees to leave will last until Dec. 31, 2014.

The penalty exemption reflects the extent to which Lebanon has reached a tipping point in the refugee crisis.

The Cabinet Thursday agreed that Syrians wishing to return home for good should be exempt from any residency-related fees or fines at the border. It said the decision would go into effect in the next three months.

 

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