Beirut- More than 1,500 Syrian refugees are facing a new displacement phase that was imposed on them by the Lebanese authorities for most likely security reasons.
Refugees were notified that they should evacuate their encampment in the northern district of Akkar, knowing that they have taken refuge there for the past three years.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that the Lebanese Army decision was likely taken for security reasons.
Marwan al-Masri, who manages the encampment and is the head of the Union of Relief and Development Associations (URDA) in Akkar, said that the refugees were given a ten-day eviction notice.
“The 20,000-meter encampment (that lies in the town of al-Rihaniyeh) is distant from the main road and the Lebanese Army bases—when established it was surrounded by a fence and is guarded by two Syrians from the inside and two Lebanese guards from the outside,” Masri told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The makeshift accommodation hosts “300 families and was originally set up to shelter widows and their families, a total of 60 women, in addition to elderly and the sick … The families are concerned and are anticipating a clarification on this decision,” he said.
Masri continued that a meeting will be held on Monday among officials in the region to discuss the matter.
Sources at the Ministry of Social Affairs told Asharq Al-Awsat that a similar decision has been previously taken.
“But in this case, we chose not to interfere because we are confident that any step taken by the army has justified reasons,” the sources said.
There are around 4.5 million citizens in Lebanon, according to unofficial estimates, and the U.N. says up to 1.3 million registered Syrian refugees are hosted by the country.