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FPM: EU's Latest Financial Support for Syrian Refugees Would Encourage Them to Stay In Lebanon

FPM: EU's Latest Financial Support for Syrian Refugees Would Encourage Them to Stay In Lebanon

Sunday, 28 July, 2019 - 07:15
Syrian refugees evacuated from the southern Lebanese village of Shebaa ride a bus through the Masnaa crossing on the Lebanon-Syria border leading to Damascus on 18 April 2018 [HASSAN JARRAH/AFP]

Some Lebanese parties fear that the new financial contribution from the European Union to support Syrian refugees in Lebanon could mean that the international community doesn't aim to help refugees to return to their homeland.

“There are fears that some countries and parties continue to seek cover resettlement of Syrian refugees in Lebanon,” said Amal Abou Zeid, a former Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) deputy and foreign ministry's representative on the joint Lebanese-Russian committee for the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat that the financial contribution offered from the EU to help refugees in Lebanon does not serve the country’s best interests.

“Let them help Syrian refugees return to their homeland in a way that serves both our interests and theirs,” Abou Zeid said.

On Friday, the EU confirmed a new financial contribution to allow UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the World Food Program (WFP) continue life-saving humanitarian support for 358,000 of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees in Lebanon until April 2020.

The Lebanese government estimates that close to 1.5 million Syrians have sought refuge in the country.

The additional allocation of EUR 39.3 million brings the total EU contribution received since July 2018 to EUR 88.1 million for both UNHCR and WFP.

The assistance is transferred through electronic cards to 358,000 people to be spent on their essential needs. The majority of that cash is spent on food and shelter. Other essential purchases include healthcare and education.

“Syrian refugees in Lebanon are struggling to meet their most basic needs. This program is more necessary than ever, as it will allow some of the most vulnerable to maintain their dignity after years in exile,” says Filippo Grandi, UNHCR’s High Commissioner.

For his part, WFP’s Executive Director David Beasley explained that these contributions provide a vital lifeline for these refugees so they can live as normal lives as possible.

“The sustained support from the EU is critical for WFP’s ability to help these vulnerable people,” he said.

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