A Syrian refugee holds her child as they doze on the sidewalk in the southern Lebanese city of Sidon on July 18, 2013
A Syrian refugee woman holds her child as they doze off on the sidewalk of a street in the southern Lebanese city of Sidon on July 18, 2013. © Mahmoud Zayyat - AFP/File
A Syrian refugee holds her child as they doze on the sidewalk in the southern Lebanese city of Sidon on July 18, 2013
AFP
Last updated: September 17, 2013

Nations to meet over refugee aid for Lebanon

A meeting will be held on the sidelines of next week's UN General Assembly to discuss ways of helping Lebanon cope with the Syrian refugee influx, a government official said Tuesday.

The Lebanese official told AFP "there will be a meeting in New York on September 25 of the International Group to Support Lebanon at France's initiative."

The meeting will include the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, and be attended by Lebanese President Michel Sleiman, the source said.

"The group will examine ways to help Lebanon maintain political stability and security... and help the country bear the burden of a continuous flow of Syrian refugees," the source added.

The UN refugee agency UNHCR has registered more than 746,000 Syrians in Lebanon, though many others remain unregistered.

The Lebanese government puts the number of Syrians in the country at 1.3 million, though that figure includes Syrians who were already in the country when the conflict began 30 months ago.

The crisis in Syria has placed enormous strain on Lebanon, politically and economically.

The small country, with a population of just four million, has struggled to absorb ever-growing numbers of refugees, who have placed additional burdens on already scare resources including water.

The conflict in Syria has also exacerbated tensions in Lebanon, where the powerful Shiite Hezbollah movement backs the Syrian regime, while Lebanon's Sunni support the Sunni-dominated opposition.

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