File - The Masnaa border crossing (The Daily Star/ Mahmoud Kheir)
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The arrivals gate at Masnaa is chock-full of family members, waiting to see if their Syrian relatives on the other side will be given permission to enter.Ever since the Lebanese government formally announced tougher entry measures for Syrians coming to Lebanon, the sight of waiting crowds assembled by the gate has become a permanent feature at Masnaa. Abu Omar, in his 70s, recounts a similar story. Neither his age nor the fact that he hails from Damascus and holds Egyptian residency and a plane ticket bound for Cairo convinced General Security officers that he was not entering Lebanon to seek refugee status. In some cases, Syrians having trouble entering Lebanon have paid third parties as much as $500 to convince border officers to permit them entry.As soon as Yafa, a Palestinian coming from Syria, crossed the General Security checkpoint into Lebanon at 7 p.m., she began cursing the policies of the government. Palestinians coming from Syria in particular have long faced tougher measures than their Syrian counterparts when entering Lebanon.Amin, a Lebanese man, didn't know who to call to ensure that his Syrian relative enters Lebanon.
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