Recently the focus has been on the Syrian refugees in Turkey and little has been mentioned in the media about the Syrians who fled to Lebanon.
An Nahar newspaper quoted a human rights association as saying that the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon has risen to 8500. They are spread out across the country but the main concentration has been in Akkar and Tripoli regions of north Lebanon .
About 500 of the refugees ( mainly leftists and intellectuals) reportedly headed to Beirut to apply for asylum at UNHCR for fear of arrest and prosecution because of their recent activities.
The refugees described life in the Syrian town of Tal Kalakh as ” intolerable because” of the violence of the Syrian army and its armed supporters.
“It was raining bullets so we fled immediately,” said one middle-aged woman who – like all the refugees – did not want to give her name.
“We came through the mountains and rocky terrain,” said one man who had made it out.
“We crawled for five hours because of snipers and tanks that had circled Tal Kalakh. It was very hard to cross.”
Another man who had fled to Lebanon had taken pictures on his mobile phone before he left.
They showed Syrian security forces beating people with sticks. The victims sat or lay on a pavement, cowering from the blows.
Lebanese open their homes
Some Lebanese families are looking after the Syrians because they are relatives, but others have opened their homes to complete strangers.
“I think I have 15 people staying but I have not counted,” said one woman who wanted to remain anonymous.
She sat on the floor of her home preparing a huge bowl of beans so she could feed her unexpected guests.
“Does anyone have a house and not open it up to people who would have to sleep on the streets? This is the will of God. I just hope the situation will improve,” she added.