Syrian cars cross into Lebanon on Masnaa border post.
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Security concerns triggered the Lebanese government's recent decision to consider revoking the refugee status of Syrians who travel back to their country, Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said in a TV interview Sunday evening.Machnouk categorically denied rumors that the new governmental policy – announced Saturday – was related to controversy over the enormous turnout of Syrian refugees and expatriates who voted as part of their country's presidential election at the Syrian Embassy in Yarze last week.The policy aims to curb the number of refugees who claim humanitarian aid while still traveling between Lebanon and Syria.With roughly 1.5 million refugees in the country, Lebanese authorities have vowed to reduce the number of Syrian refugees arriving and staying.UNHCR spokesman Dana Sleiman agreed that the decision likely reflected fears that the upcoming election would raise tensions between Syrian refugees and their Lebanese host communities."The ministry has noted specifically its concern with ensuring that actions by refugees – including exercising their right to vote inside Syria – do not provoke adverse reactions inside Lebanon or stoke hostility between refugees and the communities in which they reside," she said. But she pointed out that the policy was likely to affect many refugees who have legitimate, nonpolitical reasons for re-entering Syria.
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