Lebanese PM urges world help to cope with refugee influx

The influx of Syrian refugees in Lebanon has stretched the country's economic resources, the billionaire premier said.

Turkey is the largest host country for Syrian refugees, having taken in almost three million during the six-year war.

Geneva - The number of people that have escaped the war in Syria has surpassed the five million mark, reported this Thursday (30) in Geneva, Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The Trump administration has sought to reduce the program. "The worldwide community needs to do more to help them", says a statement by UNHCR.

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Refugees who fled the six-year-long conflict in neighboring Syria make up a quarter of Lebanon's population.

Despite a high-level meeting on Syria a year ago that aimed to resettle 10 percent of all refugees by 2018, UNHCR warned that only 250,000 places for refugees have been made available to date. They mostly live in informal camps across the country. But so far there has been no significant violence between Syrian refugees and Lebanese host communities.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that fighting in the area had prompted hundreds of locals to flee to the SDF-controlled area of Sweidiyeh, north of the strategic Euphrates Dam.

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"Oxfam calls on rich countries to show their support for Syria's neighbours that have welcomed these refugees and to resettle at least the most vulnerable 10 per cent most of Syrian refugees by the end of 2017", said Winnie Byanyima, the charity's global executive director.

"It's a protracted crisis and the funding is not catching up with the needs", added Oxfam spokeswoman Joelle Bassoul.

At a preparatory meeting on March 21, Hariri said that Lebanon will present a policy paper at the Brussels Conference on the refugee crisis, which will lay out an action plan to handle the situation.

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"A million Syrian refugee children are out of school and missing out on education, and they are the ones who will have to contribute to rebuilding Syria for the next generation", said McDonald.

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