Lebanon Requires Syrians to Have Visas

A source with the General Security Agency in Lebanon said the country has started implementing new entry measures for Syrians at its borders.

The new requirement is a visa and it is the first time in the history of both countries a visa was required and comes while Lebanon struggles to handle the Syrian refugees, which total over 1.1 million.

The great influx of refugees has tested Lebanon’s limited resources and the patience of the citizens of the country, particularly following the deterioration of security in areas such as Arsal, a town on the border in east Lebanon that hosts tens of thousands of Syrian refugees.

For a number of months, the government of Lebanon has spoken publicly of the problem warning those in the international community it was no longer able to handle the influx.

Rashid Derbas the Social Affairs Minister said in October that Lebanon would no longer receive any Syrians who were displaced, with the exception of those on humanitarian grounds.

He announced that the new requirements for a visa were intended to limit the number of new arrivals.

He concluded by saying the goal of the project was to regulate the amount of Syrians who enter the country.

An advisor to the interior minister in Lebanon said the country is continuing to provide exceptions, but that restrictions had to be put in place.

The advisor said that Lebanon respected its international obligations and would not have anyone expelled.

However, he said it was time to regulate the number of Syrians that are entering into Lebanon.

He added that the presence of the Syrians imposes a security, social and economic burden on the country of Lebanon and pressure the infrastructure in the country can no longer support.

Unlike Turkey and Jordan, Lebanon declined to make refugee camps, meaning the refugees have been dispersed throughout the country.

The country saw its fragile security situation begin to deteriorate even more when jihadists from Syria overran for a brief period a city in Lebanon and kidnapped a number of Lebanese soldiers and police.

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