Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon set on fire after fighting | Refugee News

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UNHCR says several people were injured after a fire in a camp hosting 75 families in the Miniyeh region of Lebanon.

A Syrian refugee camp in northern Lebanon was set on fire on Saturday evening following a fight between members of the camp and a local Lebanese family, state media reported.

The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, confirmed that a large fire had broken out in a camp in the Miniyeh area and said some injured were taken to hospital, but did not not provided exact number.

“The fire has spread to all the shelters in tents” – made of plastic sheeting and wood – UNHCR spokesman Khaled Kabbara told AFP.

The camp housed around 75 families, he said.

The National News Agency reported that the fire followed an “altercation” between a member of a Lebanese family and “Syrian workers”.

Other young people of the Lebanese family then “set fire to some of the refugees’ tents,” ANI added.

Lebanese Civil Defense worked to control the blaze as the army and police were deployed to restore calm, the report said.

A security source told AFP gunshots were heard, saying the brawl in the Bhanin area was sparked when Syrian workers demanded wages their employers refused to pay.

However, the same source later said that initial investigations revealed that the dispute could have been sparked by the harassment of a Syrian woman.

“Some families fled the area out of fear because there were also sounds of explosions caused by the explosion of domestic gas cans,” Kabbara said.

Lebanon says it hosts some 1.5 million Syrians, including about one million registered as refugees with the United Nations.

Authorities have called on refugees to return to Syria even though rights groups have warned the war-torn country is not yet safe.

In November, around 270 Syrian refugee families fled the northern Lebanese town of Bsharre after a Syrian national was accused of gunning a Lebanese resident, sparking widespread tension and hostility.


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