BEIRUT: Syrian refugees across Lebanon flocked to General Security offices to regulate their presence for the second day Wednesday, following a decision by the Interior Ministry to scrap overstay fines for those who legalized their status by the end of the year.
Hundreds of refugees packed the courtyard and main entrances to Tripoli’s Serail, the seat of the North Lebanon governorate, to settle their status, while scores of others lined up the pavements outside the gates, causing monstrous traffic jams.
Witnesses told the Daily Star that police had to intervene to unblock the traffic by closing the Serail’s gates and reorganizing the queues on the pavement.
In Sidon, a similar scene unfolded as women, men and children waited to take turn to renew their residence and benefit from the grace period that expires at the end of the year.
In addition to Syrian refugees, migrant workers from different Arab and foreign nationalities seized the opportunity to regularize their residence.
In a related development, security forces arrested two persons in a raid on a Syrian refugee encampment in the area of Minieh, in north Lebanon, as part of security measures aimed at tightening control on the legal papers and status of refugees, according to Voice of Lebanon Radio.
This article was amended on Thursday, September 18 2014
The original story incorrectly stated that refugees had until the end of the month to settle their residency status. In fact, refugees have until the end of the year to do so.