Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas speaks during an interview with The Daily Star in Beirut, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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The Lebanese government will spurn a U.K. request to loosen its restrictions on Syrian labor, Social Affairs Minister Rachid Derbas told The Daily Star in an interview Monday ahead of the third annual Syria Donors Conference.With the London donor conference set to begin Feb. 4, politicians are having to return to the difficult question of how to distribute the humanitarian burden of the Syrian conflict, which has turned 4.6 million people into refugees, the vast majority of them in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan. The flip side of U.K. aid is that it will only accept to resettle 4,000 Syrians a year.This month, International Development Secretary Justine Greening told international media outlets that the U.K. would ask Jordan and Lebanon to pledge at the donor conference to ease Syrian labor restrictions and expand access to education. Lebanon will require $2.48 billion in assistance to meet its humanitarian obligations toward Syrians in 2016, Derbas said, with 37 percent of the amount to be invested in overtaxed host communities, and the remainder spent as direct aid for 2 million refugees and impoverished Lebanese citizens.
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