Lebanon, U.N. consider settlements for Syrian refugees

Lebanese officials have suggested establishing settlements in safe areas in Syria, but U.N. officials prefer keeping them away from the border

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The United Nations and Lebanese authorities are looking into establishing settlements for refugee camps in Lebanon for refugees who have fled the violent war in neighboring Syria, Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star reported Saturday.

“We have been holding talks among ourselves as well as with the United Nations regarding the establishment of official refugee camps for Syrians,” Lebanese Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbes told the news website.

Lebanese officials suggested establishing camps in safe areas within Syria, but U.N. officials argued keeping them away from the border was necessary for security reasons.

“This is one of the problems we are facing… and we still need to reach a Lebanese consensus about the issue,” Derbes said.

According to the official, there are currently over 1,100 informal tents housing Syrian refugees across the country. Basic sanitation is absent in many of these.

A ministerial committee for Syrian refugees in Lebanon is scheduled to meet next week to discuss the issue, the minister said, according to The Daily Star.

There are 1,056,089 Syrian refugees based in Lebanon, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) data.

The actual number of refugees, including those unregistered in official data, is estimated to be much higher.

Syria’s civil conflict, now well into its third year, has killed hundreds of thousands, and forced millions to flee their homes and seek refuge elsewhere.

Other countries housing Syrian refugees include Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt, among other.

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