Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas speaks during an interview with The Daily Star in Beirut, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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Buckling under the burden of sustained political deadlock and more than 1 million Syrian refugees, Lebanon must confront a number of challenges if it is to avoid plunging into chaos, Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas told The Daily Star Tuesday.Derbas does not hesitate when asked what poses the biggest threat to Lebanon today. In particular, the presence of more than 1 million Syrian refugees in the country has compounded a host of national issues, from unemployment to security, Derbas said.Since May, Derbas has called for establishing "reception centers" along the Syrian-Lebanese border where refugees would stay in "pre-fabricated homes".Derbas expresses particular concern over the number of young, male refugees in Lebanon, many of whom have military training.Still, Derbas said that the clashes that took place in Arsal between armed militants and the Lebanese security forces are unlikely to be repeated elsewhere in the country.As long as Lebanon lacks a complete government, however, managing the refugee crisis and national security will prove difficult, if not impossible, Derbas cautioned.
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