Thousands flee fighting in Syria to neighbouring Lebanon

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Syrian refugees queue to be registered on the outskirts of the Lebanese town of Arsal. © UNHCR/M.Hofer

An estimated 6,000 people have fled their homes in Qarah, Syria to eastern Lebanon to escape violence, according to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR).

The agency says humanitarian partners have been on the ground in Lebanon since last Friday working with the Ministry of Social Affairs and local authorities to cope with this influx.

UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards says the refugees have told the agency they spent days living in underground shelters before deciding to flee.

"A family of ten reported being crammed into a single car on Saturday evening to flee as the situation had become "unbearable". Most of the newly arrived refugees are now in Arsal, in north-east Lebanon.  Arsal,  lies just inland from the border area, is home to a population of some 60,000 people, which already, prior to this latest influx included around 20,000 registered refugees. Some 100 families transited through nearby villages." (26")

Adrian Edwards says UNHCR and its partners have contingency plans in place for these sudden movements and indeed for larger numbers should more Syrians cross the border.

He adds there are concerns that on-going violence in the vicinity of Qarah and central Qalamoun towns could force more to flee Syria into the already stretched east-Bekaa area.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’16″


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