BEIRUT: The head of Parliament's Health Committee, MP Atef Majdalani, said Monday that many Syrian doctors and nurses were illegally working in Lebanon in a clear violation of the law, which bans the practice of such professions by non-Lebanese.
In comments made to the Voice of Lebanon Radio, Majdalani said there was no exact information on the numbers of Syrian medical professionals practicing in Lebanon, noting that they work mostly as volunteers assisting Syrian refugees.
“The Health Ministry has taken the necessary measures to stop those violations in the Bekaa Valley,” Majdalani said. “The authorities settled several violations, while it turned a blind eye to others - notably those volunteering to help refugees who are in dire need of medical assistance."
Syrian doctors operate in a number of clinics and hospitals treating Syrians in the Bekaa Valley, which has the biggest concentration of refugees. At least two facilities are located in the border town of Arsal.
Majdalani, who belongs to the Future Movement bloc, urged the Order of Physicians to stay vigilant and defend the interests of Lebanese doctors in Lebanon.
“They have to be alert to any violations, knowing that the work conditions of Lebanese physicians are extremely difficult with more than 20 percent making no more than $1,000 a month,” Majdalani said, calling on the government to stop violations in other fields as well.
The crisis in Syria has caused more than a million Syrians to seek refuge in Lebanon, where they have been competing in many fields in which non-Lebanese are legally banned from working.
UNHCR said last week that at the current rate of registration, the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon would hit the 1.5 million mark by the end of the year.
A day later, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil warned that the Syrian refugee crisis had placed enormous pressure on the economy, resulting in rising tensions that could lead to friction.