Lebanon News

UNHCR: 5,238 Syrian refugees now in Lebanon

Syrian children play in front of a refugee center in the northern Akkar region of Mashta Hammoud, Lebanon, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011. (Rakan al-Fakih/The Daily Star)

BEIRUT: Two wounded Syrians were transferred to Tripoli’s public hospital from the border by Lebanese Red Cross ambulances Friday, according to the National News Agency, as the latest figures from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees show that 200 Syrians have registered with the agency in Lebanon in the last week alone.

The two wounded Syrians, identified as Saleh A.B. and Yahya Kh.R., entered Lebanon through the northeastern borders with Syria. The United Nations estimates that over 5,000 people have been killed in Syria since the crackdown on anti-government protesters began last March.

The weekly report from the UNHCR states that, according to their estimates, over 150 wounded Syrians have been treated in various hospitals in Lebanon since the beginning of the influx.

It also reveals that there are now 5,238 refugees, constituting 976 families, registered in the north with the UNHCR and with the Lebanese High Relief Committee, the highest number since an initial influx of over 5,000 last April, which later fell as many refugees returned to Syria.

Most of the refugees, the report states, are residing with host families in “difficult circumstances.”

“Those who remain are unwilling to return until stability and security is restored in their villages. Many individuals and families have been deeply affected by the events that caused them to flee, and are reluctant to go home until the situation stabilizes,” it adds.

A UNHCR shelter expert will arrive in north Lebanon Sunday, the report says, to “evaluate approximately five abandoned structures for their suitability as collective shelters.”

Elsewhere Friday, heavy rain forced worshippers at the Hamza Mosque in the Qibbeh neighborhood of the northern city of Tripoli to cancel their weekly demonstration in support of Syria’s uprising.

Around 150 held a sit-in in the mosque instead, including members of the Tripoli Coordination Committee.

Delivering Friday’s sermon, Sheikh Zakaria Masri lashed out at Hezbollah, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, Syria’s ruling Baath Party and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Dawa Party.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 14, 2012, on page 2.




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