Lebanon's Syrian refugees are caught between a rock and a hard place. AFP PHOTO / JOSEPH EID
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With more than 1.2 million refugees in the country, the Lebanese government issued stringent new visa and residency requirements for Syrians in January of this year, placing an onerous new burden on those who were able to flee the fighting.General Security rules say that a Lebanese sponsor must organize a refugee's documents before they are permitted to enter the country.Most refugees cannot afford a sponsor, and have become increasingly anxious and uncertain over their future. Nearly 300 organizations have worked to meet the needs of Syrian refugees since the onset of the crisis, but an activist affiliated with one such organization said that the system was bloated and argued that fewer were required to provide the necessary services. The World Food Program was forced to cut its food stipend to Syrian refugees in half. UNRWA, which supports Palestinian refugees arriving from Syria, cut its housing subsidy in the face of a massive budget shortfall, pushing people into homelessness.
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