Syrians in Lebanon

Syrians in Lebanon
Total population

1,196,560 estimated (April 2015)[1]

1,067,785 registered (January 2016)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Beirut (Greater Beirut), Tripoli, Sidon, Baalbek
Arabic (Syrian Arabic)
Sunni Islam and Christianity

Syrians in Lebanon refers to the Syrian migrant workers taking jobs from the Lebanese workers and more recently to the Syrian refugees who fled to Lebanon during the Syrian Civil War.


Following the end of the twenty-nine years of Syrian occupation of Lebanon in 2005, many Syrians have been immigrating to Lebanon in search of work and a better life. These workers were treated with respect from both the Lebanese people and the country’s government even though Syrian migrant workers taking jobs from the Lebanese workers. However, as a result of the civil war in Syria between the government of President Bashar alAssad and rebel groups, refugees have been entering Lebanon by the thousands. This influx of refugees has resulted in the overpopulation of the camps and cities and rising tensions between the Lebanese citizens and Syrian refugees.

Numbers of Syrian refugees

Since 2011 Arab Spring, the Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad has attempted to gain control of all of Syria’s political and religious groups by force, resulting in the killing of Syrian civilians. Al-Assad’s actions resulted in an uprising of rebel groups (sponsored by many foreign powers) within Syria which attempted to overthrow his government. This has led to a civil war resulting in Syrians moving into Lebanon seeking asylum to the detriment of the Lebanese people. Exact numbers are hard to determine; however, there are about 10,000 Syrians crossing the border into Lebanon every year. According to the UNHCR, there were over 700,000 Syrian refugees who have been registered or were awaiting registration in Lebanon in the year 2013. The number is predicted to rise to as much as 1.5 million by the end of 2015 which would constitute one quarter of Lebanon’s population. On October 22, 2014 Lebanon has closed off its borders to Syrian refugees, with the exception of special cases, in an attempt to deal with the issue of overcrowding.


The Lebanese government has historically maintained an open door policy towards Syrian refugees; however, the UNHCR states that the Lebanese government has never signed the 1951 Refugee Convention which secures a refugees who belongs “to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.” Therefore, there exists no international laws which Lebanon must follow in dealing with the refugees this has included the government of Lebanon not building any refugee camps. The refugees who are capable of working must compete with the poor of Lebanon for the country's lowest paying jobs to get work and make money, which has resulted in damage to Lebanon’s economic infrastructure. The children of Syrian refugees must attend schools, which are already crowded with Lebanese children.

Tensions between the Lebanese and the Refugees

As the numbers of Syrians in Lebanon have grown, so have tensions; according to one Syrian refugee “When I first arrived, Lebanese people were very hospitable to me. They treated me like a refugee, like someone who needed protection and had fled from the war. Now, they treat me as if I am a security threat.” The influx of Syrians into Lebanon has resulted in economic, political, social and religious tensions in Lebanon. Curfews have been put into place in some cities and villages to ensure public safety following attacks on police and members of the military by religious Syrian extremist groups. Many Lebanese citizens fear that there is a possibility of Syrian Civil War spillover in Lebanon, especially after Syrian Sunni Muslim extremist groups executed of Lebanese soldiers in August 2014 as part of the Battle of Arsal.

See also


  1. 1 2 "UNHCR Syria Regional Refugee Response/ Lebanon". UNHCR. 18 March 2015. Retrieved 21 March 2015.

“2014 UNHCR country operations profile- Lebanon.” UNHCR. UNHCR, Web, 11 November 2014.

Goodspeed, Peter. “Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon continues to build.” The Star. The Star, 26 November 2014. Web.

“Lebanon: At least 45 Local Curfews Imposed on Syrian Refugees.” Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch, 10 October 2014. Web. 19 November 2014.

“Lebanon: Rising Violence Targets Syrian Refugees.” Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch, 30 December 2014. Web. 10 November 2014.

“Lebanon: Rising Violence Targets Syrian Refugees.” Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch, 30 December 2014. Web. 10 November 2014.

Pan, Ester. “MIDDLE EAST: Syria and Lebanon.” Council on Foreign Relations. Council on Foreign Relations, 18 February 2014. Web. !2 November 2014. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS “Lebanon to Bar Syrian Refugees.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 24 October 2014. Web. 19 November 2014.

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