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NORTH LEBANON VILLAGES THREATEN TO KICK OUT SYRIAN REFUGEES

Municipal councils of north Lebanon's Akkar province, have threatened to kick out Syrian refugees, as they said they can not afford heavy burdens created by huge numbers of refugees.

The villages and towns of the northern province, adjacent to the Syrian border, were the first to open doors for nearly 300,000 Syrians, who fled their war-torn country and are living in randomly erected camps or rented apartments and shops, according to unofficial sources.

A security source said, there are many random camps for the Syrian refugees, in addition to five encampments namely: al-Rihanieh, al-Houeich, Kherbet Daoud, Tal-Abbas and Miniara, each containing 300 tents, supported by Islamic organisations and other aid agencies.

The municipal councils of the Akkar province have called on the United Nations and international organisations, to support the municipalities in fixing the infrastructures, so the towns and villages would be able to sustain the huge number of refugees.

Abdel Hamid al-Halabi, head of the municipal council of Halba, the capital city of the Akkar province, said, "The international community's reliance on their generosity over the past years, to share the load and housing with the refugees is no longer sufficient."

He said, "The economic situation in our town is going from bad to worse. The needed infrastructure is not available. We are struggling to secure what is needed, to serve our people and not to bear the consequences and responsibility of the displaced people in the town of Halba, who count 17,000 displaced, equalling the population of the town."

He said that the town of Halba pays 12,000 U.S. dollars monthly, to collect the garbage left by the refugees, and it cannot continue with this anymore.

Head of Bebnin municipal council, the largest town in Akkar province, said, "We cannot support this situation anymore, as the number of refugees are two times the number of the town's citizens and they are affecting negatively the economical, social and development situation of the town."

But a Syrian refugee, who declined to reveal his name, said, they have no place to go, if they are to be kicked out of the camps.

Another Syrian refugee, Aisha Sharkas, said that, she and her family left the camp in Akkar province, because the people there "were complaining much about their presence."

She said that she is currently living in Tripoli and that many of the refugees in the Akkar province have moved to the eastern Bekaa province.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Lebanon is currently hosting 1.03 million Syrian refugees, who fled their war-torn country since the rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad started, in Mar, 2011.

However, the Lebanese government puts the number at around 1.5 million

Source: NAM News Network