BEIRUT: Aliya Mansour, a member of the National Syrian Coalition slammed Foreign Affairs Minister Gebran Bassil for his opposition to refugee camps within Lebanese territory, arguing that Syrians want to return as soon the war is over.
“Syrians don’t want to reside in Lebanon, they have a home that they are looking forward to return to and rebuild,” said Mansour in reference to Bassil’s statement that refugee camps would naturalize Syrians in Lebanon and legitimize their presence.
Mansour reiterated the NSC's support for the construction of refugee camps along the Lebanese-Syrian border, adding that it was the coalition that had initially made the suggestion.
The refugee camps would decrease the burden of refugee influx, and help in both managing and increasing aid, Mansour said.
“There are several parties, that Bassil doesn’t want to acknowledge, who are willing to do this [construct the camps],” added Mansour.
Bassil held a news conference Friday, where he announced his opposition to setting up refugee camps within Lebanese territory, arguing that it was high time the Lebanese commenced with initiatives to protect the country's sovereignty.
Mansour criticized Bassil for framing the refugee crisis in terms of Lebanese sovereignty rather than acknowledging it as a humanitarian issue.