Over a thousand Syrian refugees each week fleeing to Lebanon from their country’s worsening economic and financial conditions “could create harsh imbalances” in the small Mediterranean nation, caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati warns.
Over the past months, thousands of Syrian citizens made it to Lebanon through illegal crossing points seeking a better life. But Lebanon is going through its own four-year meltdown, with a drowning economy pinning its hopes on tourism and crumbling infrastructure where electricity and water cuts are widespread.
The Lebanese army says in a statement that it prevented 1,200 Syrians from crossing into Lebanon this week alone. It said another 1,100 Syrians were prevented from reaching Lebanon the previous week.
Speaking at the start of a Cabinet meeting in Beirut, Mikati says what is worrying about the influx in refugees is that most of them are young men and women.
“That threatens our entity’s independence and could create harsh imbalances that could affect Lebanon’s demographic balance,” Mikati says.