Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, on Monday threatened to expel Syrian refugees from the country if the international community fails to repatriate them.
“Eleven years after the start of the Syrian crisis, Lebanon no longer has the capacity to bear this burden, especially under the current circumstances,” Mikati said in a speech marking Lebanon’s 2022-2023 Crisis Response Plan, which is backed by the UN.
Mikati urged the international community to cooperate with Beirut to return Syrian refugees to their country.
“Lebanon is experiencing one of the hardest economic, financial, social and political crises in the world and, as a result, around 85 per cent of the Lebanese people are living under the poverty line,” he said.
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Since late 2019, Lebanon has been grappling with a severe economic crisis, including a massive currency depreciation as well as fuel and medical shortages.
According to UN figures, Lebanon hosts some 1.5 million Syrian refugees, accounting for nearly a quarter of Lebanon’s population, in addition to nearly half a million of Palestinian refugees living in the country since 1948.