BEIRUT: Lebanon’s Interior Ministry Saturday asked Syrian refugees to refrain from entering Syria starting June 1 or risk losing their refugee status. The new decision comes as part of the government’s measures to organize the overwhelming presence of refugees in the country.
“In the framework of organizing the entry and exit of Syrians in Lebanon, all Syrian refugees registered with the UNHCR are asked to refrain from entering Syria starting June 1, 2014, or else they might be stripped of their refugee status,” the ministry said in a statement.
“The Interior Ministry hopes municipalities commit to this policy for the safety of refugees in Lebanon,” it added.
It also said that this new measure was aimed at preserving security in Lebanon as well as the relationship between “Syrian refugees and Lebanese citizens in host communities in order to avoid tensions.”
The ministry asked U.N. agencies and other international refugee organizations to take this matter seriously and inform Syrians of the new policy.
Lebanon has been working on a mechanism to govern the presence of Syrian refugees in Lebanon particularly that many enter under a refugee status in order to benefit from international aid.
The number of Syrian refugees fleeing into Lebanon has skyrocketed in the past year with more than one million registered refugees. Thousands of Palestinian refugees from Syria have also sought refuge in Lebanon as the war rages over the border.