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    Lebanon Blocking Entry to Syrian Refugees Fleeing Conflict: UNHCR Representative

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    Lebanon is blocking entry to refugees fleeing conflict in Syria, according to a Saturday statement by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representative in Lebanon.

    MOSCOW, October 18 (RIA Novosti) - Lebanon is blocking entry to refugees fleeing conflict in Syria, according to a Saturday statement by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representative in Lebanon.

    "Our understanding is that people who are coming to claim refugee status are not being permitted to enter in the way that they were previously," Ninette Kelley, UNHCR's representative in Lebanon, was quoted as saying by Press TV.

    "What we've seen over the last two to three weeks is that there are greater restrictions. We've seen that there are fewer people approaching us for registration which is also indicative of tightening of the border," she added.

    According to Kelley, restrictions began in August and were extended to the main official border crossing in September.

    Following the civil conflict that began in March 2011 and amplified by the current Islamic State (IS) militant insurgency in Syria and Iraq, Lebanon will be hosting about 1.5 million Syrian refugees by the end of the year, according to a UN statement published on Thursday. Roughly one out of every four people in Lebanon is a Syrian refugee. Other Syrian refugees have been sheltered by Jordan and Turkey.

    The conflict in Syrian civil war aimed at overthrowing President Bashar Assad caused over 150,000 deaths, with at least 10.8 million people in need of assistance inside Syria, and at least 6.5 million internally displaced, according to the UN.

    Meanwhile, in September, US President Barack Obama announced his decision to form an international anti-IS coalition, which is currently performing airstrikes on IS bases in Syria and Iraq.

    The IS, a Sunni jihadi group, has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, it launched an offensive in Iraq, seizing vast areas in both countries and announcing the establishment of an Islamic caliphate on the territories under its control.

    Tags:
    refugees, UNHCR, Lebanon
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