Nawaf Salam Warns: Number of Syrian Refugees Expected to Surpass 1 Million by End of 2013
Lebanon's ambassador to the United Nations Nawaf Salam warned on Tuesday that the number of Syrian refugees fleeing the war-torn country and coming to Lebanon could surpass one million by the end of 2013.
"The number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon is expected to reach 1,229,000 by the end of this year,” Salam stated at a U.N. Security Council session dedicated to discuss the neighboring country's crisis.
Salam said the U.N. has registered 607,908 refugees in Lebanon but the government estimates the true figure at 1.2 million.
Lebanon has a population of about four million and he said the influx was the equivalent of 75 million refugees flooding the United States.
Salam said that “pressures are mounting and that the needs of the Syrian refugees surpass the Lebanon's capabilities.”
He assured, however, that the country “will not close its border in front of refugees fleeing violence and destruction and we will not stop delivering aid.”
“It is only logical to ask the members of the international community to bear the costs with Lebanon, especially that we are the smallest hosting country in size and receiving the largest number of refugees,” Salam said addressing the Security Council.
He also told the 15 ambassadors on the council that the "increasing cross border fire and incursions from Syria in Lebanon are threatening the security and stability of Lebanon."
The United Nations has announced that there are about 600,000 Syrian refugees registered in Lebanon, although other independent estimates say the number could be closer to one million.
Regarding a solution to the Syrian conflict, he expressed that what is required is “a peaceful solution chaired by all factions in Syria and supported by the Security Council.”
“Whatever were our stances, they will not put an end to violence in Syria.”