UNHCR seeking to naturalize 100,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon

Photo: UNHCR seeking to naturalize 100,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon
 / Arab World

Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas revealed on Wednesday that he obtained a report stating that the U.N.'s refugee agency is planning to naturalize 100,000 Syrian refugee in Lebanon, Naharnet reported.

Derbas said in comments published in al-Liwaa that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is seeking to also issue passports for those refugees.

"I will discuss the matter during Thursday's cabinet session," the minister said.

He expressed belief that the government will reject such a plan, hoping that more attention would be given to the matter by the Arab and international communities.

Last week, Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil warned of a "veiled attempt to naturalize the refugees" through creating camps inside Lebanese territory.

Hosting more than 1.1 million Syrians fleeing their country's three-year war, Lebanon is home to the highest number of Syrian refugees in the region, and also to the highest refugee population per capita in the world.

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres warned last week that the spiraling crisis from Syria's civil war could pose a serious threat to Lebanon's security.

Reports said that the cabinet is mulling the establishment of camps in buffer zones between the Lebanese border crossing al-Masnaa and Jdeidet Yabous crossing on the Syrian side.

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