Beirut is set to host a major summit on Syrian refugees, dubbed the "First Conference on Syrian Refugees in Lebanon: Issues and Solutions," amid a continuing bloody conflict between the Syrian President Bashir al-Assad and his regime's opponents.
Currently, there are more than 170,000 Syrian refugees registered with the UN refugee agency in Lebanon. The purpose of the conference is to find solutions for the fugitives' poor socioeconomic and health conditions as the Lebanese Higher Relief Commission has ceased providing help and the state decided not to establish camps to shelter the refugees.
Several parties in Lebanon, including the Hezbollah, have objected to building refugee camps out of fear that these would host Syrian rebels or help them smuggle weapons.
UN-Arab League envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi warned that Lebanon may not be able to handle potential additional refugees if the conflict escalates. "If you have a panic in Damascus and if you have 1 million people leaving Damascus in a panic, they can go to only two places – Lebanon and Jordan," Brahimi said.
Kamel Kuzbar, who heads the Sidon branch of the Union of Aid Organizations for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon, has shared Brahimi's concerns over the stream of fugitives from Syria as the Union allegedly has no further fund or material aid to distribute.
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