BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Nearly 5,000 Syrian refugees in north Lebanon

Aid from Italy arrives at Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut.

BEIRUT/TRIPOLI: The number of registered Syrian refugees in northern Lebanon has nearly reached the highs of April, which saw an influx of some 5,000 displaced cross the border. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said Friday that there are now 4,510 Syrians registered with the agency and with Lebanon’s Higher Relief Committee in the north of the country, up 238 from last week.

“Only a few of this additional number represent newly arrived persons,” the report added. “The vast majority are those who had crossed into Lebanon earlier but only recently approached our office.”

The U.N. says over 5,000 people have now been killed in Syria’s ongoing unrest.

Many refugees fleeing to Lebanon have been pursued by Syrian army personnel, and arrive wounded. The UNHCR said “an additional 19 wounded persons were referred to hospitals in the north this week including an 11-year-old girl. Several were in a coma when they reached the hospitals and one person reportedly died from injuries.”

According to UNHCR estimates, “over 100 wounded Syrians have been treated in various hospitals in Lebanon since the beginning of the influx.”

The report says that registration permits that the Lebanese government agreed to issue to the refugees have been delayed.

“The certificates are a means to show that the person is someone who is registered with UNHCR and the HRC and is aimed to prevent fraud and facilitate access to needed services,” the UNHCR said.

“Opposition was expressed this week in some quarters, as it was believed that the registration certificates conveyed rights to residency – which they do not,” it added.

In Tripoli Friday, Syrian refugees who were injured by gunfire while protesting against Assad’s government participated in the weekly demonstration staged in support of the uprising.

Several hundred residents of the neighborhood of Qibbeh took to the street following noon prayers and were led by a number of refugees, including young people and children, who were injured by gunfire by regime forces while protesting in Syria and later treated in hospitals in north Lebanon.

Delivering Friday’s sermon at Hamza Mosque, Sheikh Zakaria Masri condemned the Syrian regime’s brutality against its people, calling it worse than Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

Masri said that like the Syrian regime, which is misleading the world by saying armed gangs are targeting the Syrian people, Hezbollah also misled the Lebanese when it claimed that the resistance liberated south Lebanon in 2000, when in fact, according to Masri, it came about thanks to a secret agreement between Iran and the U.S.

The Italian Embassy in Beirut announced Friday that Italy had sent 17 tons of humanitarian aid, worth $200,000, to assist the refugees.

The items include medical kits, power generators, blankets and water.

The cargo plane carrying the aid is being sent by the Italian Development Cooperation, following an appeal by the opposition Syrian National Council President Burhan Ghalioun.

The goods arrived at Beirut’s airport, where Italian Foreign Ministry officials handed them over to the UNHCR and the Lebanese government.  

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 17, 2011, on page 2.

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