The continuous deterioration of the security in Syria as a result of the ongoing crisis has forced thousands of Syrians to flee to Lebanon. According to UNHCR estimates, by December 2015 Lebanon will host 1,846,150 Syrian refugees. In 2014, UNHCR had 1,435,840 Syrian refugee registered with them. Lebanon population is around 4.3 million. By the end of 2015, the Syrian refugees will represent around 43% of Lebanon population. The figures can be higher, many refugees sneak into the country without getting registered by the authorities.
Recently, the Lebanese government has established an inter-ministerial crisis cell, and imposed restrictions at the borders. These measures will not deter Syrians from entering the country. These scary numbers of refugees are putting a burden on Lebanese economy and will play a major role in Lebanon demographics in the future. Add to that, the misery these refugees are living in.
Lebanese had experience with refugees. They know how their generosity and the policy of opening doors to people in need backfired and dragged Lebanon into a civil war. During Arab-Israeli war, Lebanon opened its doors to Palestinian refugees. It is to note that currently, Lebanon is home to 1.5 million Palestinian refugee. Some regional and international powers decided to arm the Palestinians to wage a war against Israel from Lebanon. This decision dragged Lebanon into a civil war. Some might decide to do the same with the Syrian refugees in the future. Looking at what is happening between the two Muslim sects (Sunnite and Shiite) in Iraq, Yemen and Syria, it is inevitable that the Syrian refugees (mostly Sunnite) will be used to fuel a religious war in Lebanon.
Lebanon is in danger of entering a new civil war, it’s the duty of the international community to take charge of Syrian refugees crisis in Lebanon. Its their duty to avoid repeating the Palestinian example. The international community must take charge and issue initiatives to either end the Syrian civil war or accept these refugees in their countries. Lebanon, in its current political and economic crisis, can’t handle this amount of refugees.
By the end of 2015, the number of all refugees in Lebanon will be more than 50% of Lebanon population. A major disaster is in the making.