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Lebanon to not 'survive' if Palestinian, Syrian refugees remain

May 10, 2019 1:50 P.M. (Updated: May 13, 2019 12:21 P.M.)
BEIRUT (Ma'an) -- “Lebanon would never survive if half a million Palestinian refugees and 1.6 million Syrian refugees remained in the country,” according to the Lebanese president, Michel Aoun.

Aoun’s remarks came during a meeting held at the presidential palace in Beirut, on Thursday evening, with a delegation from the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), headed by its Secretary-General, Souraya Bechealany.

Aoun called on the MECC to help the Lebanese government resolve the Syrian refugee issue “by persuading western countries to accept the refugees return to their countries as soon as possible.”

He also pointed out that “Israel has declared that the Palestinian refugees would remain where they are,” and warned that if the refugees remained in Lebanon, “its demographics would change completely.”

The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) said in a 2017 report that there are about 174,422 Palestinian refugees that currently live in 12 camps and 156 Palestinian communities across Lebanon’s five districts.

The UN, which runs services in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, considers them among the most crowded urban areas in the world.

According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon reached a total of 997,000 at the end of November 2017, excluding the Syrians who are not registered with UNHCR.

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