Abou Faour: It is up to Syrian Refugees to Decide Moving out of Lebanon
Connelly hoped the donor conference in Kuwait would generate much needed contributions for for Syrian refugees
Social Affairs Minister Wael Abou Faour has denied that the Lebanese government would urge Arab countries to take in some of the Syrian refugees that have escaped to Lebanon.
In remarks to al-Joumhouria newspaper published Thursday, Abou Faour said: “We will not ask the deportation of Syrian refugees during the donor conference in Kuwait.”
“If some countries wanted to share the burden, then it is up to the Syrians themselves to decide whether they prefer to move from Lebanon to other Arab countries,” he said.
During a conference organized by the Norwegian embassy at the Phoenicia hotel in Beirut on Wednesday, Abou Faour expressed hope that the government's aid appeal would be met particularly by Arab countries.
Arab foreign ministers decided on Sunday to send an Arab League delegation to Syria's neighboring countries to assess the status of refugees ahead of the donor conference in Kuwait on January 30.
The delegation is to work out the amount of aid required and present its findings to the conference.
U.S. Ambassador Maura Connelly, who met with Abou Faour on Wednesday, conveyed Washington's support for the conference.
“To date, the United States has provided approximately $210 million in humanitarian assistance to those inside Syria and those who have fled to neighboring countries,” said a U.S. embassy statement.
Connelly hoped that the conference would generate much needed contributions for the U.N.’s appeals for Syrian refugees.
The number of refugees registered in neighboring countries and North Africa has jumped by more than 100,000 in the past month to over 600,000, the U.N.'s refugee body said last Friday.
UNHCR said it had registered nearly 176,600 refugees in Jordan, but stressed that the Jordanian government put the total number at around 280,000.
Nearly 200,000 are registered in Lebanon, more than 153,000 in Turkey, 69,300 in Iraq, 13,000 in Egypt and over 5,000 in North Africa.
The 22-month long conflict in Syria has left over 60,000 people dead, according to the United Nations.
The U.N. has said it expects the number of Syrian refugees in neighboring countries will rise to 1.1 million by next June if the war continues.