Official Lebanese delegation to visit Damascus
DAMASCUS, Syria (North Press) – The Lebanese government decided sending an official delegation to Damascus to discuss the situation on the Syrian-Lebanese border through which the influx of illegal refugees has increased recently.
“The delegation that will visit Damascus in the coming days, will be led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lebanon, Abdallah Bouhabib, and will include representatives from the military and security forces”, according to Lebanese official media.
Through negotiations with the Syrian side, the delegation is expected to devise a joint action plan to prevent the illegal entry of refugees into Lebanese territory, which has raised concerns of the Lebanese side due to the recent influx of thousands.
Issam Charafeddine, Lebanon’s caretaker minister of the displaced, expressed the Lebanese government’s deep concern about the increasing influx of refugees and acknowledged that this problem cannot be solved unilaterally without coordination with the Syrian authorities.
He mentioned a plan for a gradual return of refugee families to their homeland to be resumed by the end of 2023.
However, the dire economic conditions and the situation in Syria has hindered the process.
The Lebanese authorities had already taken steps to return the Syrian refugees in 2022 according to a plan of returning 15,000 people per month, but that operation faced international criticism because the country is still unsafe.
A day before, the Lebanese Council of Ministers convened and issued a series of stringent decisions concerning the Syrian refugees. The council directed relevant administrations and ministries to take appropriate actions within their jurisdiction to address the issue.
Najib Mikati, Prime Minister of Lebanon, warned during a government meeting that the increasing number of refugees from Syria poses a serious threat to the Lebanese state.
Lebanon is home to roughly two million Syrians who fled from the violence of Syria’s civil war. Since the beginning of April, the Lebanese Armed Forces have forcefully deported hundreds, including some of the around 800,000 Syrians that are under UNHCR protection.
Most of the migrants to Lebanon aspire to head across its coast to western countries.