Fire burns scores of tents at Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon

Fire burns scores of tents at Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon
Dozens of tents have been destroyed in a fire at the Arsal camp for Syrian refugees in northeastern Lebanon.
2 min read
05 October, 2022
Syrian refugees live in difficult conditions in Lebanon [Getty]

Dozens of tents at a camp sheltering Syrian refugees in Lebanon were destroyed in a fire on Wednesday.

The Lebanese Civil Defence said that 65 tents were burned at the Arsal Camp in the Beqaa Valley area of Lebanon, adding that civil defence workers spent hours putting out the fire. The Lebanese newspaper L’Orient Le Jour gave a higher figure of 93 tents.

It said that several refugees had suffered minor injuries as a result. The civil defence workers were able to completely put out the fire.

Tens of thousands of Syrian refugees live in the Arsal camp in very poor conditions and the Lebanese government has not permitted them to build structures which would protect them against the elements.

Conditions at the camp become especially harsh with the onset of winter. Lebanon’s severe economic crisis has also exacerbated the situation, with many Syrian refugees trying to leave the country.

Last month scores of Syrian, Palestinian, and Lebanese refugees were drowned off the coast of Syria when their boat, which had departed from Lebanon, capsized.

There has been increasing racism against Syrian refugees in recent months, with many politicians calling for forced repatriation, despite human rights organisations warning that Syrian refugees could face arrest, torture, and execution if they try to return home.

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On Wednesday Lebanese President Michel Aoun, who has previously threatened to deport Syrians and refused calls to integrate them into Lebanese society, called on the EU to assist Lebanon in repatriating Syrian refugees.

He was speaking after a meeting with the EU’s Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi.