Syrians now 42% of population of Lebanon, Syriac Maronite Patriarch criticizes international response to Syrian refugee crisis

BEIRUT — Syriac Maronite Patriarch Mor Bechara Butros al-Rai addressed the substantial impact of hosting Syrian refugees on Lebanon’s economy, accusing the international community of overwhelming the country with refugees.

The Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon has become an immense burden on the nation and its people, exacerbating existing political and economic crises that pose a severe threat to the state’s foundations and overall existence. This challenge persists, particularly amid an ongoing presidential vacuum in Lebanon.

Patriarch al-Rai stated that the cost of the Syrian displacement to Lebanon since the beginning of the Syrian civil war has soared to $49.69 billion. In contrast, the international community has only contributed $12 billion towards alleviating this immense financial strain.

The Patriarch emphasized that it is imperative for displaced Syrians to return to their home country or be relocated outside Lebanon.

He accused the international community of letting Lebanon be overburdened with Syrian refugees and obstructing their return to Syria.

The Patriarch’s statements follow recent declarations by Lebanese Public Security officials who disclosed that Syrians now constitute 42% of the population in Lebanon.