| 25 February 2024, Sunday |

Mikati Warns of Lebanon Collapse due to ‘Syrian Displacement’

Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati called on the international community to help Lebanon confront the Syrian displacement crisis, warning that the country was “on the brink of total collapse… and we will not remain idle.”

He added that the cost of the Syrian displacement was estimated at tens of billions of dollars, according to a recent World Bank report.

Mikati’s remarks came during his participation in the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva, where he called on the international community to “participate in the challenge of addressing the Syrian displacement, and put it on the list of priorities.”

“We will not remain idle and suffer successive crises, and for some to consider us projects as alternative homelands. Rather, we will save our homeland, and we will fortify ourselves. Because we have the right, first and foremost, to live in our country with pride and dignity,” the Lebanese premier told the conference.

Mikati renewed the demand to stop the ongoing Israeli aggression against Lebanon. He noted that the country was already suffering under enormous burdens, including the pressure of the presence of millions of displaced Syrians and Palestinian refugees.

“The challenges we face as a result of this displacement go beyond the economic and social aspects, to affect societal security, and the destabilization of the sensitive demographic composition in terms of the number of Syrian births exceeding Lebanese births, and the high rate of crime and overcrowding in prisons… Competition for limited job opportunities has also led to increased tensions and security incidents,” he warned.

Mikati put forward proposals to adopt “a practical classification that distinguishes between Syrian workers and immigrants in their capacity as refugees, establish a national mechanism to determine the legal status of every displaced Syrian in Lebanon, and oblige employers in the private sector to adhere to the conditions for employing Syrian workers in a way that reduces competition with Lebanese talent.”

He also proposed identifying the categories of displaced Syrians whose return could be facilitated, and setting a timetable for their return, while ensuring the implementation of legal, security, economic and social guarantees.


  • Asharq Al-Awsat