A closed shop in Hadath. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Numerous small businesses in the Hadath area south of Beirut were closed Monday, following an order from the local mayor to shutter shops run by Syrian nationals. Following media speculation, Hadath Mayor George Aoun told The Daily Star Monday that he had indeed made the order at the behest of the labor minister. "I fully support the recent measures because [the Syrian refugees] have eaten us [alive]," one market owner told The Daily Star.Many residents of the town applauded the recent crackdown and called for the measure to go further and evict Syrian refugees from their homes. The move comes after Labor Minister Mohammad Kabbara issued an order meant to protect the Lebanese labor force and prioritize Lebanese employees.Last August, Azzi said that companies found in violation would face fines up to LL2,500,000 ($1,660), a 900 percent increase on the previous LL250,000 penalty. The minister claimed he had measured mass layoffs affecting 10,000 Lebanese nationals.The U.N. reports that 1 million Syrian refugees are registered in Lebanon, although the Lebanese government estimates the figure to be around 1.5 million.
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