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There’s a Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon too

By Jean Lebel      

In the last five years, Lebanon has taken in more than 1.4 million Syrian refugees—almost 25 per cent of its population. Added to that are the Palestinian refugees who have been in Lebanon for more than 40 years and the Iraqi refugees who have been there for about a decade, meaning that nearly 40 per cent of Lebanon's population is made up of refugees.

Syrian refugees, pictured Sept. 2, 2015, arriving in Greece. The international community must continue to send emergency humanitarian aid to address this crisis. The ultimate goal is to resolve the Syrian conflict. However, in the absence of a short-term solution to the war, it is imperative that we focus on identifying solutions to prevent Lebanon from erupting under this pressure. Both Lebanese citizens and refugees should be involved in identifying solutions that do not exacerbate the existing tensions in Lebanon, writes Jean Lebel.
The Hill Times photograph by Fernando Del Berro

At a time when the Syrian conflict often monopolizes the media, when refugees are travelling mind-boggling distances across Europe, and when Canada is struggling to take in 25,000 Syrian refugees, it is important to remember that some Middle Eastern countries (Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey, among others) are grappling with the main challenge of hosting refugees on a scale never before seen. I recently visited Lebanon, which is twice the size of the province of Prince Edward Island and

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