UN: Relocating refugees from Lebanon to safer areas inside Syria vetoed by Russia, China


press conference of the Launch of the Regional Response Plan for Syrian Refugees and Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response PlanValerie Ann Amos,, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, informed Lebanese Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas that Lebanon’s demand to send Syrian refugees to safer areas inside Syria was rejected by Russia and China.
Derbas told An Nahar daily in remarks published on Thursday that Amos said she informed the major powers four times about Lebanon’s request, but she was confronted with veto from the Russian and Chinese envoys at the U.N.

Derbas also said that he informed Amos during her visit to Beirut that Lebanese authorities accepted to host Assyrian refugees “out of concern for the minorities in the Middle East”.

At least 190 Assyrian Christians remain captives of the Islamic State extremist group, which overran several Christian villages in Syria’s eastern Hassakeh province.

The minister said Amos hoped the Kuwait III conference on March 13 would be able to play a determining role in stabilizing the situation in the refugee hosting countries.

There are more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon. One in three of the residents in Lebanon is a Syrian refugee according to reports . In some border towns the number of Syrian refugees exceeds the number of Lebanese citizens.

Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq said Thursday that “90 percent of the displaced Syrians entered the country legally.”

He pointed out that the new measures along the border helped in limiting the entry of Syrians into Lebanon by 50 percent .
Mashnouq pointed out that the humanitarian cases remain an exception.

For Lebanon, the flood of refugees escaping the civil war in their country, has placed a tremendous strain on the country’s economy, resources, infrastructure and delicate sectarian balance.

Lebanon began imposing tighter restrictions in October when the government announced that it will not accept any more Syrian refugees except for what it deemed to be “exceptional” cases.

Since then, the number of refugee registrations in Lebanon has considerably dropped.