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Lebanese FM: Syrian refugees should avoid Lebanon

Lebanon’s foreign affairs minister said that the Syrians who were fleeing the conflict in their country should not consider entering Lebanon since its capacity to accept refugees was limited.

“Syrian families could turn to Syrian cities located away from fighting, since Lebanon cannot contain a great number of refugees,” Adnan Mansour told Voice of Lebanon (100.5) radio station on Thursday.

The minister, who announced that the latest statistics indicated that 160,000 Syrian refugees were present on Lebanese soil, added that Lebanese authorities should focus on “controlling the border.”

He also responded to remarks made by Future bloc MP Jamal al-Jarrah in the Thursday edition of Al-Joumhouria newspaper in which he proposed handing over Syrian Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim al-Shaar to the Lebanese judiciary to be put on trial as “a war criminal who killed thousands of Syrians.”

“Putting Syrian officials on trial goes against the policy of dissociation adopted by the Lebanese government with regard to the Syrian crisis. Therefore, it is not allowed for some to judge Syrian officials as war criminals.”

Shaar, who was wounded in a suicide bombing last week in Damascus, arrived in Beirut on Wednesday for treatment, a Lebanese cabinet minister said.

Last week, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement that more than 150,000 Syrians have thus far sought refuge in Lebanon amid increasing violence in their home country.

Also, since last week, more than 2,000 Palestinians from the Yarmuk refugee camp in Damascus are believed to have fled into neighboring Lebanon since fighting erupted there between Syrian rebels and their Palestinian allies, and Palestinian factions still loyal to the regime in Damascus.

"Syrian families could turn to Syrian cities located away from fighting," said Lebanese FM Thursday.