Aoun and the first lady attend a mass in Rome, Thursday, March 16, 2017. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO)
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The Syrian refugee crisis is posing a very heavy burden to Lebanon along with its security and economic consequences on the country's stability, President Michel Aoun said in Rome, according to a statement released by the president's media office Friday.Despite the difficulties facing Lebanon as a result of the negative fallout of regional turmoil, Aoun reassured the Lebanese diaspora about the country's future.The Lebanese government estimates that around 1.5 million Syrian refugees live in the country in deteriorating economic conditions – which Lebanon was already suffering from prior to the refugee crisis. One million Syrian refugees are registered with the UNHCR in Lebanon.Aoun dismissed the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising that has roiled the region as "hell" for the Arabs, Christians and the world after it was jolted by the threat of terror.Referring to the war in Syria that has entered its seventh year this week with no end in sight, Aoun said: "I came from a country that has been surrounded by fire for six years. Following the Syrian withdrawal [from Lebanon] in 2005, we thought that peace will be permanent in Lebanon.
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