News / Middle East

Syria Crisis Spills Over into Lebanon

Al Pessin
MASNAA, Lebanon — Syria's main border crossing with Lebanon was quiet Friday, the day after an estimated 20,000 Syrians crossed to flee the increasing fighting. The conflict in Syria is having a growing impact on its neighbor.

Lebanese officials on the border were prepared for another busy day. It was more of a trickle than a flood, however, and none of the Syrians coming across into Lebanon described themselves as refugees. On a Friday at the start of Ramadan, they might have been coming to visit family, as they claimed.

Many of the refugees who came over on Thursday were believed to be supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from Damascus and its suburbs, like a driver who came on Friday, saying he had brought some people for a two-day visit.

​“No one better will come after Assad. It's not possible. There is no one better than him. 85 percent of the people are with him and 15 percent are getting paid to be against him,” said Ibrahim Ibrahim

Volunteers from the International Committee of the Red Cross were ready to help, but were not needed.

A local Muslim relief organization also swung into action, finding space for refugees in schools and homes. But much of the space was not used. Most of Thursday's refugees were well off and could afford to rent apartments or hotel rooms.

Still, Ali Abdul Khalek of Muslims Without Borders is concerned that more, and poorer, refugees could come if the trouble in Syria continues.

“Lebanon can't absorb a large number of refugees. The population of Damascus is equal to the population of all of Lebanon. Lebanon can't do this by itself without international help,” said Khalek.

Along the row of shops near the border, the Syrian crisis is having a different impact. Business at Ahmed Al-Ajami's family electronics store is down 70 percent because fewer Syrian tourists are coming by.

“Business was very good. The store was bustling. Now, there is nothing since the beginning of the war in Syria. The last month-and-a-half it is nothing at all,” said Lebanese merchant Al-Ajami.

On this Friday, the few customers he had were Lebanese, and this family didn't find what they were looking for.

The fighting continued Friday in Syria, and Lebanon was braced for the continuing human, economic and political fallout from the unrest in its much larger neighbor.

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Comment Sorting
by: anonymous
July 29, 2012 5:27 AM
This is what foreign engineered revolutions lead to.Extensive massacres and unnecessary blood shed.The western countries should be ashamed of themselves for supporting an opposition group made up of salafis ,takfiries and alquaede an even enginneering massacres to justify such rebellion .Assad should go ,but not before defeating and uprooting its blood thirsty opposition.

by: Malek Towghi (Baloch) from: USA
July 21, 2012 12:57 PM
President Obama should ask Hillary Clinton to resign before this war lady puts the whole Arab world east of the Red Sea aflame the result of which will a complete destruction of 'our clients', the Sunnis. The Christians of Lebanon and beyond have learned the lesson; they will not confront the Hezbollah and other Shia's for the sake of the Sunnis of the region. Also, it is not in the interest of Israel to see the Salafi-Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Sunnis emerge victorious.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 21, 2012 10:10 AM
85% to 15%, is this true? Is it some supporter's imagination? Is the West interested in democracy out there or is there something else at stake if there be some still speaking like this for Syria and Assad? But even though Ibrahim thinks like this, neither Russia nor China who staunchly support Assad has painted this picture if it really exists. No, it can't be true! What is lacking is the courage for the people to reach out to Israel to help out, and the problem will be over overnight. Let someone take the initiative and enlist Israel's help and you'll see how it works like magic the much needed liberation in the ME, not Lebanon or Turkey.

by: Ken from: Peoria, Arizona
July 20, 2012 10:04 PM
Cool! Get all the rag heads involved, they can cancel each other out.

by: UN-SCUM from: USA
July 20, 2012 9:12 PM
really...? what a surprise...!!! hey, Arabs, we are used to hear cries of Massacre from Muslimes... so what...? you want us to intervene...?? really? after you so cowardly planted roadside bombs against our troops in Iraq..???

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