Lebanon Appeals for Aid Amid Soaring Refugee Numbers
Lebanon appealed to the international community for aid Monday in the face of rapidly growing number of Syrian refugees in the country. Activists report that the influx of refugees just last week brought the total population to 90,000. Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour said that Lebanon would launch a round of contacts with Arab and international parties to garner financial support to help Syrian refugees. The numbers spiked last week after the deaths of several high-ranking Syrian security officials in Damascus, with as many as 30,000 ariving since that time, according to the The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. As violence reached the heart of the Syrian capital, those fleeing to Lebanon have begun to include well-off and middle-class Syrians.
Meanwhile, Lebanese President Michel Sleiman sent a letter of protest to Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdel-Karim, accusing Syria of repeated violations of the Lebanese border. The protest came after a house in the Lebanese border town of Mashariaa al-Qaa was bombed, while shells were fired into several other villages along the border. There has been an increase of cross-border clashes recently as Syrian opposition groups have taken advantage of the highly porous border. Sleiman “expressed his displeasure,” and “asked the army command and the relevant authorities to coordinate… in order to avoid a repetition of these violations once and for all,” according to the statement.