BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Hezbollah sends first aid delegation to refugees

Syrian refugee children eat at a school where families fleeing the ongoing violence in their country have been hosted in the Lebanese village of Majdal Anjar in the eastern Bekaa Valley. (AFP PHOTO / ANWAR AMRO)

BEIRUT: A Hezbollah delegation Monday delivered aid parcels to Syrian refugees who fled to the Iqlim al-Kharoub region of the Chouf – marking the first official mission of its kind by the party.

The National News Agency reported that the social wing of Hezbollah visited the villages of Naameh, Jiyeh, Baasir, Wadi al-Zeineh and Manshieh, where they met with local officials and distributed aid.

The Hezbollah officials observed the conditions of the refugees and, according to a statement from the party’s communications office, the refugees sent a message of thanks to Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah, the NNA reported.

Sheikh Mohammad al-Hajj from the party’s social wing said Hezbollah was providing aid to Syrian refugees in return for times when Syria welcomed Lebanese families, particularly during the 2006 war with Israel.

So far, Hezbollah has remained uninvolved in the Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon and has pledged its support for President Bashar Assad’s regime.

Polling has shown refugees are generally unsympathetic to the Syrian regime, while aid distribution has mostly fallen to the United Nations, the Higher Relief Committee and political groups aligned with the opposition.

But as the crisis spirals, enveloping more of Syria, families are being forced to flee regardless of their political affiliations.

So many families have entered the country that there is a serious shortage of housing, and aid organizations have struggled to accomodate the influx.

Local aid groups estimate there are more than 90,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees reports there are over 65,000 refugees who are registered or waiting to be registered in the country, with more entering on a daily basis.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 11, 2012, on page 3.

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