LEBANON: Camp for displaced Syrians burned to the ground

MINIYEH, Lebanon – A huge fire broke out in a camp for displaced Syrians in the Miniyeh region in northern Lebanon. The fire almost completely burned down the whole camp, an ‘illegal’ settlement for Syrian refugees who worked in Minya city. Residents of the camp were forced to flee.

Videos circulate on social media showing high flames destroying dozens of tents and provisional shelters in the camp which housed some 75 Syrian families or some 350 to 400 Syrians.

The fire happened against the backdrop of a fight between a number of Miniyeh families and youth and Syrian workers living inside the camp. Local sources state that the fight resulted in the wounding of three and occurred prior to the deliberate fire after which members of the Miniyeh family set fire to tents inside the Syrian refugee camp.

Since the start of the popular uprising against the dictatorial Syrian Ba’ath regime and the subsequent civil war, Lebanon has been housing some 1.5 million Syrian refugees on a population of 4.5 to 5 million. The Syria Ba’ath regime for decades proxy-ruled Lebanon with the Syrian Arab Army physically present on Lebanese territory. It withdrew in 2005 after the Cedar Revolution with massive protests over the killing of Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri in 2004.

Syria continues to exert influence Lebanon through Iran-proxy Hezbollah which is fighting along the Ba’ath regime in Syria against everyone threatening the repressive status-quo regime.