SHAFAQNA – More than 100,000 Syrian refugees received military training in their home country before entering Lebanon, Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas said Sunday.
The staggering figure poses “a real threat to internal security,” he added, saying that Lebanon can no longer absorb any more refugees.
Speaking to the local radio station Voice of Lebanon 93.3, Derbas said the borders will only remain open to receive special cases.
“Lebanon has not totally closed its borders to refugees,” he said. “We are still receiving humanitarian cases, but other reasons for refuge are not being accepted.”
He commented on the Syrian war, saying that it is not a mere political dispute, but rather an “Arab catastrophe, the burdens of which are being carried by the two smallest states: Lebanon and Jordan.”
Nearly 1.2 million Syrians in Lebanon have registered with the UN refugee agency, but the actual number is thought to be significantly higher.
He condemned attempts to frame the crackdown on militants in Lebanon as a conflict between the Sunni sect and the Army, saying “this is a shameful thing, especially since most of the Army’s martyrs are Sunnis.”
Derbas, a centrist, also backed the Future Movement’s call for the extension, saying that if elections were held in the absence of a president, there would be no one to conduct the consultations and form a Cabinet afterwards.
“Electing a new president is related to internal and external files, especially the crisis in Yemen,” Derbas said, stressing that MP Michel Aoun and Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea has lost all chances of being elected, and the goal is to find an impartial candidate.