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    UN Refugee Agency wants official clarifiation from Beirut concerning the new restrictions aimed at tightening the influx of Syrian refugees entering Lebanon, which took effect on Monday.

    MOSCOW, January 5 (Sputnik) — Beirut’s new restrictions on Syrian refugees entering Lebanon amid the ongoing Syrian civil war and humanitarian crisis lacks "clarity," senior regional spokesperson for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said Monday.

    "We want official clarification from the government on some points, specifically what this means for those seeking extreme humanitarian entry," Ron Redmond told Al Jazeera.

    The new restrictions aimed at tightening the influx of Syrian refugees entering Lebanon took effect on Monday. The restrictions include requiring Syrians to acquire a visa to enter Lebanon. Prior to this, movement across the Syrian-Lebanese border was largely unrestricted.

    Redmond added that the UNHCR had seen a 50 percent reduction in the number of Syrian refugees crossing over to Lebanon, which the agency speculates was because the refugees were either turned away at the border or because they heard it had become difficult to cross the border.

    The restrictions have also raised concern about unregistered Syrian refugees already in Lebanon, according to the news outlet.

    According to the United Nations, of more than 3.2 million Syrian refugees registered, Lebanon hosts over 1.1 million, or about a quarter of the host country’s population. The influx of refugees has caused a deep strain on the Lebanese economy, spilling over into neighboring countries including Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.

    "We’ve been warning for months that the governments here [neighboring host countries] need international assistance as they don’t have the resources to take care of the increasing demands," Redmond was quoted as saying by Al Jazeera.

    In wake of the 2011 Arab Spring peaceful protests in Syria escalated into all-out fighting between government forces, rebels and jihadists, including Islamic State militant group, which began fighting the Syrian government in 2012, has captured vast territories in the country and is known for its brutal tactics. The UN estimates about 6.5 million Syrians have been internally displaced by the conflict, while an estimated 9 million have fled their homes since the civil war broke out.


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    visa, refugees, UNHCR, UN, Syria, Lebanon
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