BEIRUT: French Ambassador to Lebanon Bruno Foucher Thursday met 22 Syrian refugees at Beirut International Airport before they left Lebanon to be resettled in France.
The resettlement of the group is part of a French humanitarian program that aims to re-establish vulnerable refugees residing in Lebanon in French territory.
Upon arrival in France, the refugees will be supported by French authorities and receive housing, medical care and access to education for children.
The humanitarian program, which was launched in 2014, is led in partnership with the United Nations refugees agency UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration.
Lebanon has meanwhile become the largest beneficiary of French aid in the region. In a tweet, the French Embassy in Lebanon Friday said that Lebanon is the “1st recipient of French aid in the region in response to the consequences of the crisis,” and that France has allocated 100 million euro ($119 million) for Lebanon for the course of 2016-2018, with more than 73 million euro already ‘committed.’
During his visit to Lebanon in April 2016, then French President François Hollande pledged to resettle 3,000 Syrian refugees in France in 2016 and 2017. Emmanuel Macron’s administration “will continue to commit to the program in 2018,” the embassy tweeted.
In addition to the humanitarian resettlement program, France has launched a complementary pilot program aiming to establish “humanitarian corridors” - which allow safe transit refugees out of a region - in cooperation with civil society organizations, by targeting 500 “vulnerable” refugees residing in Lebanon.
Beyond the two programs, France has hosted 16,500 Syrian refugees on its territory since 2011.