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Lebanese Patriarch: refugees from Syria impose strain on country

July 18, 2017

Maronite Catholic Patriarch Bechara Rai has warned that the presence of 2 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon is straining the fabric of that country.

“Even with all our solidarity with the refugees, the Lebanese hope that the process to guarantee them a safe return to their country,” the Patriarch said.

Peraching as a Mass attended by Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun, the Maronite Patriarch praised the “good intentions” of the government in welcoming refugees, but observed that the costs of providing for the refugees have fallen on the people of Lebanon, causing economic difficulties and prodding many of the country’s own residents to emigrate.

The Maronite prelate—Lebanon’s primary Christian leader—spoke out at a time when the Lebanese military has begun security operations in refugee camps, hoping to neutralize militant Syrian factions that have begun to organize and arm themselves within the camps.

 
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