Syrian refugee camp children outside their tent. File photo
Gulf Today Report
The state media reported on Sunday that a Syrian refugee camp in northern Lebanon was set on fire Saturday night following a fight between members of the camp and a local Lebanese family.
The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), confirmed a large fire had broken out in a camp in the Miniyeh region and said some injured had been taken to hospital, but did not provide an exact number.
“The fire has spread to all the tented shelters” — made of plastic sheeting and wood — UNHCR spokesman Khaled Kabbara told the media.
The camp housed around 75 families, he said.
Injured Syrian children in a hospital near the refugee camp in Lebanon. File photo
The National News Agency reported that the fire followed an "altercation" between a member of a Lebanese family and "Syrian workers".
Other youths from the Lebanese family then "set fire to some of the refugees' tents", the NNA added.
The Lebanese Civil Defence worked to control the blaze while the army and police were deployed to restore calm, according to the report.
A security source told AFP shots were heard, saying the fight in the Bhanine area was sparked when Syrian workers demanded a wage which their employers refused to pay.
However, the same source said later that initial inquiries found the dispute could have been sparked by the harassment of a Syrian woman.
"Some families have fled the area out of fear because there were also sounds of explosions caused by household gas canisters blowing up," Kabbara said.
Lebanon says it hosts some 1.5 million Syrians, including around one million registered as refugees with the United Nations.
Authorities have called on refugees to return to Syria even though rights groups warn that the war-torn country is not yet safe.In November, around 270 Syrian refugee families fled the northern Lebanese town of Bsharre after a Syrian national was accused of shooting dead a Lebanese resident, sparking widespread tension and hostility.
Forest fires in Syria and neighbouring Lebanon have killed three people and burned swathes of land since Thursday, state media and officials said.
In Syria, blazes fuelled by high temperatures broke out Friday in the provinces of Homs, Tartus and Latakia, where at least three people died.
Lebanese security forces on Saturday denied accusations by rights groups that they had coerced Syrians who had landed at Beirut airport into signing forms to return to their war-torn country.
Syrians preoccupied with daily financial pressures have nevertheless been infuriated by Donald Trump’s recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over Syria’s Golan Heights. A senior government official told Gulf Today that US policy is “to protect Israel” although Israel, which has built the most powerful military in the region, needs no protection.
The House members, largely left-leaning Democrats and led by Representative Andre Carson, noted that Shireen Abu Akleh held US citizenship and pointed to divergent accounts on how she died on May 11.
Israeli troops shot and killed a teenage Palestinian boy as clashes erupted when they entered a volatile town in the occupied West Bank early on Saturday, the Palestinian health ministry and local media said.
The ongoing COVID wave, declared last week, has fuelled concerns over a lack of vaccines, inadequate medical infrastructure and a potential food crisis in the country of 25 million, which has refused outside help and kept its borders shut.